Charles River Increases Investment in the Northeast Ohio Region

Ashland’s largest employer to add 500 new jobs

Charles River Laboratories, International, Inc., a leading partner to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, is expanding in Ashland. The company will add 500 new jobs over the next two years, bringing total employment at the site to more than 1,500. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 7-year extension to the company’s current Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit at its meeting today.

“Our critical work advancing human health has been completed right here in Ashland for more than 40 years, and we are excited to announce our latest expansion,” said Erica Lashley, Corporate Vice President and Regional General Manager for Charles River. “We are proud that this expansion will allow us to hire more Ohioans and support our client’s innovative drug development, while positioning Ashland as a community focused on excellence.”

Charles River’s continued growth in Ashland is driven by strong demand from the biopharma industry to bring new, safe therapeutics to market efficiently utilizing the Company’s leading expertise. In addition to increasing its workforce to support this demand, Charles River is also investing in its facilities. The Company is breaking ground on a 200,000 square foot, LEED-certified expansion, both to increase capacity for client work and enhance the employee experience onsite.

“As we’ve grown, we’ve recognized the need to provide our people with more perks at work,” added Lashley. “Our employees feel a strong sense of pride over the important work they do, and we want to reward their dedication with new amenities; a fitness center, meditation room, and increased space for employee interaction.”

The Ashland site was established in 1980 as WIL Research, and was acquired by Charles River in 2016. The Company has a well-established history of community involvement. In 2021, the site donated more than $100,000 to local non-profits, including Salvation Army Ashland Kroc Center, United Way of Ashland County, Disabled American Veterans, and Camp Nuhop, as well as local food banks including Hillsdale CARES Food Bank and Kroc Center Food Distribution. Additionally, working through COVID-restrictions, employees safely volunteered more than 770 hours to local organizations.

Along with JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Development (ODOD), the city of Ashland, Development Finance Authority of Summit County, and Ashland Area Economic Development, Team NEO worked collaboratively with Charles River’s leadership to build the case for expanding in the Northeast Ohio Region versus outside the state.

The project is contingent upon approval of state, JobsOhio and local incentives.

“Charles River is the City of Ashland’s largest employer and they have been an outstanding community partner that is truly  helping us transform our great city,” said Ashland Mayor Matt Miller. “In addition to providing high quality employment opportunities for more than 1,000 individuals in our region, they continue to invest in a variety of projects in our community  that are improving our people’s quality of life. We look forward to working with them to make this expansion a great success.”

“Ashland Area Economic Development is proud to celebrate Charles River through their new  investment into this great community,” added Mike Welch, Vice President of Ashland Area Economic Development,  “Charles River has been a staple in Ashland for over 45 years, providing state of the art jobs for our community, and industry leading research for the world. We at Grow Ashland are proud that Charles River calls Ashland ‘Home’.”

Team NEO’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Koehler also commented on the expansion, “We are grateful for Charles River’s investment in Ashland and the great support of our local partners to make it happen. Along with  ODOD and JobsOhio, we are pleased to support the long-term growth of another strong company in the Northeast Ohio Region’s thriving health care industry.”

About Charles River

Charles River provides essential products and services to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, government agencies and leading academic institutions around the globe accelerate their research and drug development efforts. Our dedicated employees are focused on providing clients with exactly what they need to improve and expedite the discovery, early-stage development and safe manufacture of new therapies for the patients who need them. To learn more about our unique portfolio and breadth of services, visit

About Team NEO

Team NEO is a private, nonprofit economic development organization accelerating business growth and job creation throughout the 18 counties of the Northeast Ohio Region. As the designated JobsOhio Network Partner, we align and amplify local economic development efforts in the region’s 18-counties; we conduct research and data analysis to inform local conversations and influence solutions; we market the Northeast Ohio Region; and we work to increase access to jobs, education and training for the region’s 4.3 million people. We do this to build a more vibrant regional economy; one that is more talented, equitable, competitive, innovative, resilient and prosperous. For more information, visit

About JobsOhio

JobsOhio is a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio through Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Southeast Economic Development, One Columbus, REDI Cincinnati, Regional Growth Partnership and Team NEO. Learn more at Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.