CSL Plasma’s newest collection center recently opened to employees only on the Kankakee, Illinois, campus of CSL’s manufacturing facility there.
Staff who work at the CSL Behring location were first to donate during the soft opening. The new center will open to the public April 10 and has been outfitted with new donation technology designed for quicker collection times.
Some employees in Kankakee have been regular donors for years even though getting to the nearest CSL Plasma center required a long drive.
“I initially started donating to ensure our patients received the lifesaving therapies they depend on,” CSL Behring Warehouse Specialist Stacie Goytia said. “Then COVID-19 impacted the number of individuals who were donating and I felt even more committed to continue donating as often as I could.”
CSL Behring is a business unit of CSL, a global biotech company that makes medicines for rare and serious diseases, as well as vaccines. Plasma-based medicines are so appreciated that patients who are part of the Plasma P.A.L.S. program regularly visit plasma collection centers to thank donors. Nearly 300 employees at the Kankakee facility registered as new donors and signed up to tour the new center.
Jason Tanner, another longtime plasma donor, donates because he has seen family members benefit from plasma medicines. Plasma is straw-colored component of blood that contains important proteins. The process of fractionation isolates the proteins so they can be made into medicine for patients who have immune system problems, bleeding disorders and other conditions.
“It’s just my time to help people live a normal life, and I feel good about doing my part,” Tanner said.
The new center – CSL Plasma’s 320th in the United States – is opening on the heels of another milestone in Switzerland. At a facility in the city of Bern, CSL Behring has been fractionating donated plasma collected with the new technology, which launched in August 2022. Testing at the Swiss facility determined the new process was sound and company officials thanked employees across CSL who collaborated to make it successful.
“This milestone comes at a great time as we continue the rollout of the Rika device to additional centers,” says Becky Heatherman, Senior Director of Technology and Innovation, CSL Plasma. “We are elated to see this next step in the process come to fruition after the years of important work to prepare for this implementation.”