Although they are still in the development phase, Membio is still on a mission, making sure there is a safe, unrestricted, and sustainable blood supply.
"So we do that by manufacturing blood outside the body, this is a process we're able to complete using a combination of cell lines and our duel fusion manufacturing technology, and it's this combination which allows us to produce blood cost-effectively at scale," said Shane Kilpatrick, Founder, and CEO of Membio.
Manufacturing blood has its advantages because it is uninterrupted supply.
"So removing that donor from the supply equation allows us to very predictably produce an output of blood, as opposed to having put out these widespread calls for donations and have variability in the blood supply," said Kilpatrick.
Blood is made up of four components: plasma, platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells, and Kilpatrick and his team are only manufacturing red blood cell fragments, which is one key difference of what they are making, and what would get pulled out of the body.
In terms of function, the red blood cells that they are developing have a few advantages.
"Our blood is the same blood type, and so we're able to select a very compatible blood type that's better than O negative ... the second is our cells are newly formed, and there's evidence which suggests this would allow them to last longer inside a patient ... which has its benefits, (especially) for patients recurring numerous transfusions," said Kilpatrick.
They are not selling their blood yet, however, there is still a tremendous need. "Blood is used for cancer treatment, trauma, many different surgeries, but the nation-wide inventory is at best a 12-day supply," said Kilpatrick.
The inventory supply timeline can drop if there is a low donor turnout. "So through manufacturing blood, we can level out that supply system and ensure blood is always available when it is required," added Kilpatrick.
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