9 October 2014

Héma-Québec to Set Up a Third Plasma Collection Centre in Sherbrooke

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PRESS RELEASEHéma-Québec announced plans to set up a plasma collection centre in Sherbrooke between now and 2016. The 12-bed facility will employ some 20 staff members. The Sherbrooke donor centre will be the third of its kind to open under the PLASMAVIE banner created in 2013. The goal of these plasma donor centres is to enable Héma-Québec to increase its rate of plasma self-sufficiency, and thus reduce Québec’s dependency on plasma for pharmaceutical production.

plasmavieSherbrooke was identified as the priority city for the new plasma collection centre. “As the sixth largest agglomeration in Quebec and the regional centre for the vast Estrie region, Sherbrooke was the obvious choice to house such a major facility,” explains Marco Décelles, Vice-President, Chief Operating Officer, and interim CEO of Héma-Québec. “An added incentive was the fact that the residents of Sherbrooke and the surrounding area are active blood donors.”

With an anticipated investment of $1.7 million, including equipment, to complete the project, Héma-Québec is hoping to rent a 4000-sq.ft. building with street access, and will make major alterations to the interior and exterior. Once up and running, the centre’s operating costs are estimated at $2 million annually. The organization has been fortunate to draw on the technical and financial support of Sherbrooke Innopole for this growth-generating project.

“It’s very encouraging to see a wonderful organization such as Héma-Québec set up operations in Sherbrooke! Not only does it mean the creation of some 20 quality jobs at the collection centre, but local partners and suppliers will also benefit, leading to other indirect jobs,” Josée Blanchard, Director of Development at the Life Sciences key sector of Sherbrooke Innopole happily pointed out. “We hope that their long-term presence will also encourage the creation of research and development partnerships into new blood and blood derivative products.”

Plasma is the liquid component of blood in which red cells, white cells, and platelets are suspended. It makes up 55% of the total volume of human blood and contains a high amount of water and proteins. Plasma fractionation makes it possible to isolate and purify certain proteins such as albumin, clotting factors, and immunoglobulins. These blood derivatives are used to treat many diseases. For example, immunoglobulins are used in the treatment of certain cancers of the blood and immune disorders; for its part, albumin is used to treat liver diseases and major burns; finally, clotting factors are used in the treatment of hemophilia.

Plasma is donated through a procedure called apheresis, which separates the plasma from other blood components. These other components are then returned to the donor, greatly reducing the time needed for the blood to regain its volume and balance. Plasma can therefore be donated every six days, unlike whole blood donations that require intervals of 56 days.

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