Elphinstone Research Centre

(Inveresk Research)

Inveresk Research, Tranent
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Inveresk Research, Tranent

A commercial research laboratory, occupying the site of the former Fleets Colliery a half-mile (1 km) northeast of Elphinstone and a mile (1.5 km) south of Tranent in East Lothian, the Elphinstone Research Centre provides drug development facilities to companies in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries worldwide, while also providing safety and other services to the veterinary pharmaceutical, agrochemical and chemical industries. The laboratories are operated by US-based Charles River Laboratories, which had merged with Inveresk Research International in 2004. Inveresk Research were founded in 1957 at Inveresk Gate as the British-American Arthur D. Little Research Institute. They occupied the laboratories of the former Institute for Seaweed Research, which had been set up by the Government in 1946. The Elphinstone Research Centre was developed in the early 1970s although the company did not give up the Inveresk Gate premises until the late 1980s. The research centre offers a pre-clinical service that tests new drugs on animals from monkeys, pigs and dogs to rabbits, rats and mice. This work is controversial and attracts the interest of anti-vivisection groups, hence the Elphinstone facility operates under great security.

Inveresk Research International grew rapidly through acquisitions, was subject to a management buy-out in 1999 and became a public company listed on Nasdaq in 2002. In 2004, at the time of the merger with Charles River Laboratories, Inveresk was valued at $1.5 billion and employed almost 3000 staff in 14 countries. Charles River sold the former Inveresk clinical research centre located on the Heriot-Watt University research park at Riccarton to Quotient Bioresearch in 2009.

The Inveresk Research Foundation was established by Inveresk Research International in 1977 to support and encourage independent research in Scotland, particularly in the biomedical sciences. This was reconstituted as the Caledonian Research Foundation in 1990 and its assets transferred to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which uses these to provide support for scientific research and training.

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