Sealaska to enter plasma business

Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) Sealaska, the regional Native corporation for Southeast Alaska, has invested $3.75 million in International Bio Resources, a Louisiana-based company specializing in the collection and sale of blood plasma.

The board of directors announced the investment at Sealaska's 30th annual shareholder meeting Saturday in Anchorage. The deal was consummated June 19.

The newly formed Sealaska Life Sciences LLC will manage the investment, a 10 percent ownership of International Bio Resources, and look for other investments in the health care, company officials said.

International Bio Resources operates five blood plasma collection centers in the United States. Plasma, the liquid portion of human blood, is used to restore blood volume in shock, trauma and surgery patients. It also is used in the treatment of infectious diseases and in controlling hemophilia. The company hopes to expand to 39 plasma collection centers by 2006.

The investment fits into Sealaska's long-range plan of having smaller, service-oriented investments with the opportunity for growth, said Albert Kookesh, board chairman.

''It's not the major thing that we're looking at for the next couple of years, but it's something smaller that can be a year-round business instead of seasonal,'' Kookesh told the Juneau Empire from his home in Angoon.

Joseph Nelson, a lawyer with the Juneau-based law firm of Simpson, Tillinghast, Sorensen and Longenbaugh, was elected to a three-year term on the board of directors. A Juneau resident, Nelson is the only new director on the 13-member board. Kookesh, Ethel Lund, Richard Stitt Sr. and Marjorie Young were re-elected to three-year terms.

The five directors elected were those endorsed by the Sealaska board of directors. Seven independent candidates also ran.

In a reorganizational board meeting held immediately after the shareholder meeting, Kookesh was renamed chairman of the board. Rosita F. Worl was named vice chairwoman.

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