2.5% is the increase in annual sales of plasma protein products reported in February 2009 by Biotest Group.
70% of people in the US are “universal donors” with type O-negative blood—the most valuable at plasma clinics.
"It’s pretty much just like sitting at home."—— College student Brett Appleton’s comment about donating plasma twice a week, as reported by the Iowa City Press-Citizen after Biotest opened its first new collection center in Iowa City
Santa Feans will soon be able supplement their incomes by selling blood plasma.
Biotest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of the German health sciences firm Biotest AG, will open Santa Fe’s only for-profit plasma center at 2860 Cerrillos Road in early April.
“The [plasma] industry is very cyclical; it’s a lot of highs and lows,” Dan Gamache, Biotest’s marketing director, says. “Right now, I would say that we’re at a high…There are a lot of companies out there that aren’t collecting enough to satisfy their own needs.”
The US blood plasma supply has increased annually by 2.5 million donations each year since 2005, according to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association. In 2007, there were approximately 300 facilities nationwide; by 2009 there were more than 330, a 10 percent growth.
Last year Biotest, which markets plasma products including hepatitis B antibodies, bought up the plasma collection operations of NABI Biopharmaceuticals as the first step in a self-described “aggressive” expansion campaign. Biotest opened a new facility in Iowa in addition to the one slated for Santa Fe. According to Gamache, those represent NABI/Biotest’s first new facilities in more than 15 years.
“Most of the plasma therapies worldwide are being produced from plasma collected in the United States,” PPTA Director of Global Communications Kara Flynn tells SFR. “It is traveling around the world, so to speak.”
Donors can give plasma twice a week. Though compensation depends on the blood type, Gamache says donors average $25 per donation. The facility will be able to collect as many as 1,000 plasma donations per week. If the economic downturn brings in higher numbers, Gamache says the center could expand its hours, “but we wouldn’t lower our fees or turn donors away. We’re in the business of saving lives, so we really try to accommodate the people that are helping us accomplish that.”