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Company History

Howard P. Harlan founded the company in 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana to supply the life sciences industry with laboratory animal models. From 1931 until the time of his death in 1961, Mr. Harlan expanded his business throughout the Midwest. In 1961, Hal P. Harlan, his son, assumed responsibility for the operations. The business was incorporated in 1962 under the name of Harlan Industries, Inc. (HII) and later changed in July, 1981 to Harlan Sprague Dawley, Inc. Majority interest in the company was sold to Genstar Capital in 2006 for continued growth and expansion. Huntingdon Life Sciences acquired Harlan Laboratories in 2014.

Acquisitions and Expansions
1979 – Spartan Research Animals, Haslett, Michigan.

1980 – Acquired GIBCO Animal Research Laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin which included the following operations:

  • The former Sprague Dawley Company
  • The former A.R. Schmidt Company
  • Teklad Standard Diets
  • Teklad Research Diets
  • Teklad Trucking

1981 – M.A. Laboratory Animals, Walkersville, Maryland, was purchased from the Whittaker Corporation of Whittier, California.

1983 – TIMCO Breeding Laboratories in Houston, Texas, was acquired from the Texas Medical Center.

1984 – Engle Laboratory Animals, Inc. in Farmersburg, Indiana and Laboratory Supply Company, Inc., of Indianapolis, Indiana were acquired.

1985 – Harlan Bioproducts for Science, Inc. was established in Indianapolis to manufacture custom immunological and biological products and research services.

1985 – The company became an international corporation with the purchase of OLAC Limited of Oxfordshire, England to supply models in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, and Israel.

1986 – Southern Animal Farms in Prattville, Alabama was purchased to support government institutions and universities in the Southeast United States. The Holtzman Company in Madison, Wisconsin, producer of the Holtzman albino rat, was acquired. 

1986 – The Central Institute for Breeding of Laboratory Animals (CPB) in The Netherlands was acquired to expand operations in Continental Europe. 

1986 – Completed construction of a new maximum barrier laboratory animal facility in Frederick, Maryland to serve East coast customers including the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

1988 – Blue Spruce Farms in Altamount, New York, known for producing the Long-Evans outbred rat, was purchased.

1989 – Premier Laboratory Diets in Bartonville, Illinois was purchased.  Premier was the manufacturer of the well-known Wayne Diets. 

1989 – In Europe, Porcellus Animal Breeding Limited in Heathfield, England and Riom Laboratories-CERM in Riom, France were acquired.

1990 – A new maximum barrier laboratory animal facility was constructed and opened in Houston, Texas.

1992 – Dominion Laboratories in Dublin, Virginia was acquired. 

1993 – International expansion continued with operations established in Germany, Italy and Israel.

1994 – Nossan s.r.l., Milan, Italy was purchased. Significant stock and strain expansion accomplished through acquisitions from the Hannover Institute in Hannover, Germany, and the TNO Institute in Rijswijk, The Netherlands.

1995 – Interfauna companies in the U.K., Germany, and Spain were purchased.

1996 - Expansion in Somerville, New Jersey, with the establishment of a new facility dedicated to production of isolator maintained animals required for oncology research.

1997 – Opened a new laboratory animal production facility in Mexico City, Mexico.

1997 – A new state of the art laboratory animal facility was constructed and populated in Horst, The Netherlands.

1999 – Harlan Bioservice for Science was formed in Walsrode, Germany.

2004 – RCC Ltd., in Itingen, Switzerland was acquired to expand contract research services for the pharmaceutical, chemical, and agrochemical industries in Europe and Asia. 

2005 – Genstar Capital acquired Harlan Sprague Dawley, Inc. as a company in a growing, vital industry with continued growth opportunity.

2007 – Safepharm Laboratories, Shardlow, United Kingdom is acquired to expand contract research services into the chemical industries.

2008 – The company unites as Harlan Laboratories, Inc. with all legal entities initiating a name change to become one company with one vision to help our customers do research better.

2014 - Harlan Laboratories is acquired by Huntingdon Life Sciences to form the number one provider of contract services to the crop protection and chemical industries, the number two provider of research models, and the number 3 provider of non-clinical contract research services to the pharmaceutical industry. 



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