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“I’ve never seen anyone take any pleasure in hurting an animal,” said Alan Breau, a pharmacologist specializing in analytical chemistry. He oversees SNBL’s multimillion-dollar lab.

The Everett operation does not test the safety of consumer products such as cosmetics or shampoo. It conducts research into human medicine. The benefits often spill over into veterinary science, Rose said.

Many of the instruments in SNBL’s lab cost more than the average house. Everything that takes place is documented.

“This is a regulated industry,” Crane said. “It’s all about safety.”

SNBL employs more than 260 workers in Everett, including pharmacologists, chemists, veterinarians and those who clean up after the animals.

It takes security seriously. Although SNBL invited a reporter to tour parts of the operation, the company would not allow photographs of its animals, most of its employees, or images documenting conditions inside. The company’s security people also resisted exterior photos of the buildings and parking lots.

The sterile facility has only a faint animal odor. The maze of long hallways, reminiscent of a hospital, features pass-through ports for moving specimens between secure areas.

The rooms that house the test animals are kept under positive air pressure to reduce the risk of germs entering. Tests can’t be conducted on sick animals.

“We never want an animal sick,” Breau said. “They’re more worried about us making the animals sick than them making us sick.”

Primate studies determine at what amount a drug starts producing side effects, such as weight loss or increased heart rate. If the reactions are serious enough, the studies stop, Crane said.

If a drug flops during human testing, the pharmaceutical company loses millions of dollars.

“The whole idea in drug development is to fail as soon as possible,” Crane said. “Most drugs fail.”

Only about one out of 100,000 compounds ever makes it to market, he said.

Breau said he has aided in the development of at least eight drugs in his career. Often, researchers don’t know whether a drug makes it to market because substances are not always named in the test phase.

One woman thanked Breau with tears of gratitude after she found out he helped develop a medicine that allowed her son to have a future. She told Breau the boy was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was unable to function until he was treated with olanzapine.

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