By Heidi Vanni, CFA
From the Summer 2013 Edition of Values
Each year, more than 16 million blood donations are collected in the United States. Do you ever wonder how blood from a donor’s arm actually ends up in a recipient’s body? The process is incredibly complex, highly regulated, and time sensitive as donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.
Founded more than 40 years ago and headquartered in Braintree, Mass., the Haemonetics Corporation is a healthcare company that provides blood management solutions to blood centers and hospitals. The company has point-of-donation machines that automate the collection of plasma and other blood components including platelets and red blood cells. Spanning all of these platforms are information technology systems that are designed to ensure that the right blood product gets to the right patient at the right dose at the right time.
In the United States, donations are increasing 2 to 3 percent annually but demand is climbing 6 to 8 percent annually as an aging population requires more operations that often involve blood transfusion.1 Optimal blood management is therefore critical. Haemonetics helps plasma fractionators, blood collectors, and hospitals improve care and lower costs by optimizing the collection, processing, and use of scarce blood resources.
In contrast to blood component collection, whole blood collection is currently a manual process. Typically, one liter of blood is collected per donor in a relatively low-tech, gravity-fed process that takes 15 to 30 minutes. Haemonetics is developing automated point-of-donation machines that pump blood from donors at a consistent rate of eight minutes per donor. The traditional collection process requires transportation from the collection site to a centralized processing location where blood is separated into components within eight hours of donation. Haemonetics has acquired an innovative storage technology that extends the unprocessed life of whole blood from eight hours to 24 hours, thereby increasing the time available from collection to processing. This could potentially support radical operational efficiencies in whole blood collection. For example, processing locations could eliminate night shift workers and thus lower costs. The combination of automated whole blood donation, a longer shelf life for unprocessed blood, and information technology systems that better manage donor data make Haemonetics the industry leader, and could revolutionize the standard of care in whole blood collection.
This information should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security.