The Charles River Labs team in the West Ashley section of Charleston has been producing and selling limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) reagent since the early 1990s. This product is used around the world for the detection of environmental pyrogens—any type of substance that, when it enters the blood stream of an animal or person, causes fever. Detecting these contaminants in manufactured pharmaceuticals is vital for the safety of the patients who will eventually use them.
We produce the LAL reagent from the blood of horseshoe crabs. Their blood responds uniquely to contaminants such as pyrogens, and it is because of that special adaptation that we can produce LAL reagent from them, taking some blood from the animals and releasing them, unharmed, back into the wild.
It is the horseshoe crab that makes Charleston an attractive place to do business for Charles River, as this area has one of the most robust populations of this creature in the world. In addition, Charleston County has provided tax incentives that make it an economically friendly place to do business. These incentives have helped us invest in buildings, equipment, and an ever-increasing workforce to help us grow our business. We have a fascinating business, and we are thankful that Charleston County has been there to support us along the way!
- John Dubczak, Operations Manger, Charles River Labs