As published in Toledo Business Journal - January 1, 2015
Fresenius Medical Care is investing nearly $15 million into several new products that will be produced in Oregon, requiring a 50,000 square foot expansion of the local facility.
Fresenius is the world’s largest provider of kidney dialysis treatments and products, according to concentrate operations director, Dan Martin. The $2 million warehouse expansion, plus the $8 million invested in their bibag line, $4 million invested in CitrasateDRY™ acid manufacturing, and $900,000 invested in an analytical lab and renovations are expected to create 30-40 new jobs over the next four years.
“The building expansion allows us to add additional lab capability allowing for completed in house US Pharmacia (USP) testing for all our constituent ingredients,” said Martin. “We’re expanding our lab, while adding a new maintenance area to improve our overall equipment effectiveness. The third phase is adding the additional 50,000 square foot warehouse starting in 2015, and that’s to construct additional warehouse space due to an increased demand for our products, as well as additional capacity for our Bibag product.”
Bibag, a new addition to Fresenius’s product line, is a specialized, single-use, sealed bag filled with USP grade dry sodium bicarbonate powder. The bibag attaches to a special connector incorporated into the front of the Fresenius 2008T hemodialysis machine, which draws dialysis grade water into the bibag to produce a saturated solution of sodium bicarbonate online.
“What that does is it allows medical technicians to simply attach the bag to the Fresenius dialysis machine,” said Martin. “That’s a nice added value to the customer because they no longer have to take the bag that contains the dry powders and reconstitute into a solution. They can simply take the bag out of the package, put it on the machine, and start the treatment. Another advantage of the bibag is that it is self-contained and minimizes any potential microbiological contamination that could occur in the mixing process.”
Fresenius plans to increase production of the bibag beginning in 2016, although they still supply products in a form that can be manually mixed.
The company also produces the dry acids in two forms, Granuflo and CitrasateDRY™ acids, along with a sodium bicarbonate buffer, which is required to make dialysate for kidney treatments called hemodialysis. Fresenius has recently expanded its dry acid production as the demand has increased, partly due to lower shipping costs.
“The breadth of our product portfolio coupled with the high quality of our products sets us apart,” said Martin. “Additionally, the ability to meet our customer’s demands, the flexibility of our systems and the reliability we have shown drives our customer satisfaction.”
The facility expansion is expected to be complete by fall of 2015. Fresenius’s North American headquarters is in Waltham, Massachusetts, but they are enlisting Industrial Developers Ltd. and Logan Creek Construction Co. from northwest Ohio to complete the project.
The Oregon Fresenius plant manufactures products for hospitals, home patients, and dialysis clinics throughout North America, mostly in the United States but also including Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.
There are currently around 500,000 patients requiring kidney dialysis in the US, and Fresenius serves nearly half this market.
“Dialysis is not a cure for kidney failure,” said Martin. “If your kidneys do not work, and you stop dialysis, your kidneys will continue to fail. You cannot live without at least one functioning kidney, unless you get a kidney transplant. Without a kidney transplant, you will need dialysis for the rest of your life. This is why our life-sustaining products are so critical.”