In the past few years, the treatment of rare diseases and the development of biologic-based therapies have gained considerable attention. More particularly, the plasma protein industry has been growing quite rapidly where the overall market doubles every 7-8 years, and by 2023, it is expected to reach $45 billion. Previously, a large portion of raw material used to come from the blood sector in the form of recovered plasma. However, with the rapid development in the demand for plasma proteins and stable or declining use of fresh blood products at the hospitals, there is an increasing demand for source plasma. More than ever, the plasma required for manufacturing the therapies for patients is supplied by the commercial source plasma industry. Moreover, almost 80% of plasma required by the fractionation industry worldwide is supplied and gathered by the US today. Dr. Barzin Bahardoust, the Co-founder and CEO of Canadian Plasma Resources (CPR), believes that depending on one country is not sustainable and may prove hazardous to the security of supply for patients. Through CPR, Barzin and his veteran team are trying to make Canada a global contributor of plasma-derived products.
A Visionary Leader Improving the Integrity of Canada’s Healthcare System
Barzin targeted the plasma sector to reduce Canada’s dependency on other countries for products made from plasma, primarily the U.S. Currently, Canada imports roughly around 80% of its blood plasma needs from the US. These figures clearly show that the manufacturers of the plasma-based products heavily depend on plasma collected from foreign donors and more specifically on US source plasma collection companies. To address this issue, Barzin with his seasoned team is endeavoring to expand the global collection of plasma and ensuring the long-term security of supply for patients in Canada and around the world through their plasma collection facilities in Canada. As the CEO, Barzin manages the executive financial and operational aspects of his business. The visionary leader and his team are developing or adopting the latest technologies used in the Plasmapheresis industry in both hardware and software. With this, they are ensuring high productivity of staff and reducing donation times for their generous donors.
Striving to Become a Global Contributor for Safe and Quality Plasma
CPR is a pharmaceutical manufacturer licensed from Health Canada and certified by the European Union (EU) and the International Quality Plasma Program (IQPP). It is a source member of the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA). The company strives to become a global contributor for safe and quality plasma supply as well as wants to increase the local production capacity in Canada. It collects quality plasma from healthy donors and uses it for further manufacturing to treat a variety of health conditions. The Canada-based company handpicks its donor through certain criteria, rigorous screening, and testing. If a donor tests are positive for infectious disease, then all of the plasma he/she has donated previously is isolated and removed from the production batch.
Providing Training Programs to Enhance the Employees’ Professional Development
As a prominent plasma-based products manufacturer, the CPR team consists of a range of well-versed scientists and healthcare professionals. To ensure plasma donors’ and products safety, the company offers comprehensive training programs to its employees according to their positions. These training programs help employees and new recruits to deliver high standard products, improve their professional development, learn new skills, and reach their long-term career goals. Furthermore, its team approach at the collection facilities and the in-depth training programs has greatly helped them in improving their performance.
Testing Criteria and Compensation for Donors
The plasma collected from healthy donors is used to manufacture plasma proteins. These in turn are utilized to treat rare diseases and conditions, some of which are even life-threatening. Therefore, healthy donors are selected for donating their plasma. By following the four layers of screening, CPR ensures that the donors are in a healthy state while donating their plasma during every visit:
- The donor must meet the basic donor eligibility criteria.
- The donor must pass the health history and current health review criteria on the donor questionnaire.
- On the first visit and every 16 weeks, the donor must pass extensive screening including serum protein evaluation.
- The donor is tested for the specific transmissible disease markers using the latest technologies.
CPR also checks donors against the National Donor Deferral Registry to ensure that donors are healthy and clear of any diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B or C. For its plasma donors, the company offers compensation in the form of Donor Value Card, which is credited after each donation. In addition to this, it has created a Super Hero Rewards loyalty program for all the plasma donors.
Working on Innovative Projects
CPR’s vision is to increase plasma production in Canada and to reduce dependency on foreign source plasma. To achieve its vision, CPR has acquired approval from Health Canada to allow its donors to safely donate more plasma. In Canada, for the first time, donors can donate plasma twice a week and 104 times per year. In a week, donors can donate plasma again as long as it is two days apart. From CPR’s viewpoint, it is removing the last advantage US companies have over them. Currently, the company is developing an entirely paperless blood bank information system, which will make the process much more efficient for its donors and staff members. It is planning to expand its network of collection centres in Canada from 2 to 10 in the next three years. Moreover, CPR is also preparing to collaborate and develop different plasma collection projects in jurisdictions outside of Canada and mainly in the Americas, Central Europe, and Asia.
The Future of the Healthcare Sector
“New therapies are emerging to address the growing needs of patients. Biologics and specifically plasma-derived medicines will be a big part of this and we anticipate considerable growth for the plasma industry.”––Dr. Barzin Bahardoust