The supply chain of biotechnology company AlloSource looks a bit different from the supply chains of other manufacturers—mostly because it hinges on the donation of human tissue.
A different kind of manufacturing: For nearly three decades, Colorado-based AlloSource has transformed donated human tissue from deceased individuals into transplantable products, or “allografts,” that surgeons can use to heal living patients.
- “Something that distinguishes AlloSource among manufacturers is [that] our base materials come from donated human tissue, which makes manufacturing very complex,” said AlloSource Chief Operating Dean Elliott.
- Common tissue recovered for donation includes skin to treat burn victims and bones and ligaments for use in orthopedic procedures to restore mobility.
Meeting a need: AlloSource, which today is one of the largest providers of donor cells in the world, was founded in 1994 by three organ procurement organizations “out of a need for expertise in transforming deceased human donor tissue into transplantable products,” Elliott said.
- Today AlloSource produces approximately 200 different types of allografts, which are used in surgeries ranging from spinal fusion to shoulder rotator-cuff repair.
- In 2021, the company used tissue from nearly 8,000 unique donors to place more than 200,000 allografts in all 50 states and in 25 countries.
How it works: Following the passing of a donor, a local tissue-recovery agency has just 24 hours to recover the tissue to be made into allografts.
- “One of the miraculous things that happens when someone dies is their cells stay alive—and as long as the tissue is recovered and sent quickly, AlloSource can preserve the tissue while keeping the cells viable,” Elliott said.
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