LabCorp will store millions of blood, tissue samples in Kannapolis biorepository
By Emily Ford
KANNAPOLIS ó The N.C. Research Campus will store millions of biological specimens in a state-of-the-art biorepository at the corner of Chipola Road and U.S. 29, about a mile from the main campus in downtown Kannapolis, officials confirmed Tuesday.
Laboratory Corporation of America, or LabCorp, will operate the biobank, said Lynne Scott Safrit, president of campus developer Castle & Cooke North Carolina. Castle & Cooke is building the biorepository for LabCorp, which will lease the facility.
LabCorp is negotiating with Duke University to partner in the venture, said Victoria Christian, chief operating officer for Duke Translational Research Institute and the MURDOCK Study.
The MURDOCK Study, a long-term health research project expected to collect blood samples from 50,000 local residents, is interested in storing its specimens in the new biorepository.
“Duke sees the biobank in Kannapolis as essential to its mission at the North Carolina Research Campus,” Christian said. “We have no formal agreement as yet, but we’re hopeful that an appropriate partnership between the two organizations is in the works.”
A biorepository is used for long-term cold storage of biological samples like blood and tissue. This facility will be state-of-the-art with robotic capabilities, Christian said.
LabCorp is expected to hire 36 technicians to work at the facility.
Other universities, institutes and companies, including big-name pharmaceutical companies being recruited by the N.C. Research Campus, would pay to process, store and access their biological samples in the new facility.
Safely storing specimens over many years is crucial to life sciences researchers, who often apply new science to old samples in their search for treatments, causes and cures for disease.
LabCorp was one of the first companies to partner with the N.C. Research Campus, a 350-acre $1.5 billion biotechnology center. Dr. Andrew Conrad, who co-founded LabCorp, is the chief scientific officer for the N.C. Research Campus.
He’s also one of David Murdock’s closest friends.
Murdock, billionaire owner of Castle & Cooke and Dole Food Co., is developing the Research Campus on the ruins of an old textile mill. He gave Duke $35 million last year to launch the MURDOCK Study, which stands for Measurement to Understand Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis.
LabCorp has a history of collaborating with the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, which is now located in Kannapolis and will run the MURDOCK Study.
The new biorepository should open in 2009. The facility is one of three new buildings that Castle & Cooke will begin this year, including the Medical Office Building for Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast and Cabarrus Family Medicine and a branch of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
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