A new blood plasma donation center recently opened at 3006 Governor Printz Blvd. in Wilmington. It is the 70th location of its kind operated by ImmunoTek Plasma, the country’s largest independent builder of plasma collection locations.
“It took us almost two years to plan, locate and construct the center, including the hiring and training of 20 people to operate it,” says Reed Smith, vice president of operations for the Texas-based company. “We expect to double the size of operations in the next year.”
Unlike blood serum used for transfusions, blood plasma is targeted for medical research and for treatment of immune disorders and rare diseases, as well as for cancer and burn patients. The Wilmington center is strictly for collection and not processing of plasma.
Donors can give plasma up to twice per week, Smith says, and are paid for time spent at the center (not for the blood plasma itself). The initial two visits take about two hours, with strict patient screening and blood testing; payments are $100 per visit. Subsequent visits can last up to 90 minutes, with payments of $50 and $70 for the two weekly sessions.
Smith says that in time, ImmunoTek expects to have a corps of 800 to 900 donors. He also estimates the local economic impact to be around $5 million annually.