The organization responsible for handling organ donations and processing tissue grafts in Hampton Roads is expanding on the West Coast.
LifeNet Health, the Virginia Beach-based biomedical company, opened a new location in San Diego on May 15. The new facility will handle research operations and tissue engineering services.
“Our San Diego presence will not only expand our research capacity, but will also enable important partnerships with clinicians and scientists that will accelerate discoveries and ultimately advance medicine for patients,” LifeNet President and CEO Rony Thomas said in a news release.
Through its life sciences research division, LifeNet tests out potentially lifesaving drugs on real organ cells. In the tissue engineering department, LifeNet’s new facility will be focusing on grafts for sports medicine and breast reconstruction, executive vice president Douglas Wilson said.
The 10,000-square-foot facility will serve as a tissue graft logistical hub for distribution to West Coast hospitals.
“Delivering allografts quickly and reliably has become even more vital as LifeNet Health has expanded to serve an ever-growing range of surgical disciplines,” said John Herre, chairman of LifeNet’s board of directors and a Hampton Roads cardiologist.
LifeNet has spent around $1.5 million on the San Diego facility and will employ 12 there, Wilson said.
The facility is in a part of San Diego filled with other biotech companies and organizations. Wilson said LifeNet leaders hope to partner with several of those neighboring groups.
“We think it’s a great location to be,” he said.
LifeNet will not be handling or distributing organ donations in San Diego like it does in Hampton Roads. The federal government strictly regulates which organ procurement organizations can operate in the United States; LifeNet is certified for organ donations in Virginia but not in California.
LifeNet also has facilities in Seattle, Florida and Vienna, Austria. The company is also exploring opening a Midwest location.