Many local and state dignitaries, investors, employees, donors and media, participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, March 27, 2014 to help christen Medolac Laboratories' flagship center of operations in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The cutting edge facility includes corporate offices, a lab, freezer facilities and clean room environments essential for the development and processing of human donor milk derived products.
Elena Medo, CEO and founder, enthusiastically announced, "The opening of Medolac's new headquarters, lab, and processing facility mark key milestones in the company's commitment to end the longstanding shortage of donor milk and make innovative, adapted donor milk products available and accessible for use in neonatal intensive care settings."
Oregon State Senator Richard Devlin, who attended the event, stated, "We are pleased to welcome Medolac Laboratories to our community. Their commitment to developing innovative products destined to improve the health of premature infants is commendable."
This new facility will help Medolac do its part to address the plight of 15 million preterm babies born each year, detailed in a published report by the United Nations, showing that many preterm infants do not survive simply due to the lack of access to appropriate nutrition. Donor milk is often unavailable in neonatal settings, quite costly and because neonatal intensive care units are often located far away from the baby's home, many infants have no access to their mother or her milk.
Medolac Laboratories' first product to be prepared at the facility, "Co-Op Donor Milk" is 100% human donor milk and represents a truly a groundbreaking product in that it does not require freezing, is room temperature shelf stable for three years, and is commercially sterile. This product is also substantially more affordable than donor milk from other sources.
The co-op donor milk supplier partner for Medolac, collocated at its new facility, the Mothers Milk Cooperative (MMC), is a Michigan corporation formed under Cooperative law and developed with the help of a USDA Cooperative Development Grant. The Cooperative is owned and controlled by its members who are breastfeeding mothers that have been qualified to provide breast milk under the program. Medolac purchases its donor milk supply from the MMC , which compensates its members. At the end of each year, any profits that accrue are distributed on a pro rata basis to the Cooperative's members.
The new facility will reflect Medolac's commitment to maintaining the highest product safety standards in the milk banking sector. The company has already raised the bar when it comes to safety standards for donor screening as well as raw milk testing, compared to traditional milk banking practices. Their partnership with the American Red Cross National Testing Laboratories has enabled the utilization of a more robust donor screening program and to expand testing critical to the examination and reporting on a variety of areas including microbiological and viral safety, environmental toxins, drugs of abuse, heat stable toxins, prescription drugs and ethanol.
Medolac plans to ramp up development of a comprehensive and innovative suite of neonatal nutrition products at its new facility in the coming months to respond to the urgent need for human milk products for special nutritional and therapeutic uses.