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The Biotest Plasma collection center at 17th and M streets is expanding to deal with current and expected growth.

Work has been going on for several weeks at the site, which is adding about 2,800 square feet, about a 25 percent increase, said Dan Gamache, director of plasma marketing operations for Boca Raton, Fla.-based Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corp.

Gamache said the expansion will increase the capacity of the customer processing area and also add product storage freezers.

"We plan on being in Lincoln long term and are investing and upgrading in our facility to accommodate current and future growth," Gamache said in an email.

He also said the company plans on expanding its local workforce by 10 to 15 percent from its current 44. 

Gamache did not offer specifics on the company's growth prospects, but its owner, Biotest AG of Germany, reported a nearly 13 percent increase in year-over-year revenue in its plasma and services division.

According to the Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association, the number of plasma donations grew from 12.5 million in 2006 to more than 23 million in 2011, the latest year for which figures on donations were available.

The increase in donations can be tied to a couple of factors.

One is worldwide demand for plasma, the liquid component of blood that makes up more than half of its volume, which is used in a number of treatments against viruses and also in clotting agents for hemophiliacs.

The second factor is the economy. Unlike with blood donations, people are paid for plasma donations. In Lincoln, Biotest pays $40 per donation for a process that takes about an hour, and people can donate twice a week.

Gamache said work on the Lincoln expansion should be done in June or July.

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Reach Matt Olberding at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

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Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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