Medolac Now Operating in Boulder City

The Medolac Company, a Public Benefit Corporation, is now fully functioning here in Boulder City at the former Vons/Haggen location.

Even we weren’t fully aware of this until last week, as they are still working on the expansion and remodel on the inside of their facility, and also are still working on a sign – but now they were ready to let us announce this to you!

They’ve currently hired 11 employees locally and are excited for the plans ahead.

We got a tour of the facility and met some of the employees and family members who help run this small, family owned company. We also had the opportunity to have an in-depth chat with Elena Medo, the company’s CEO and Chairman.

Why did you move your operation to Boulder City?

First off, we’re thrilled to be here in Boulder City! We had completely outgrown our old location in Oregon, and needed to move. After looking around, this community seemed like the perfect choice for a variety of reasons.

Currently we are producing about 1,000 gallons of processed breast milk a month and currently have over 100 hospitals nationwide, as well as US Military hospitals (some of them overseas), who buy and use our products regularly. That number keeps growing, so we had to expand.

Who uses your product?

Hospitals use our product to help feed premature babies. Babies born too early actually need 4 times more protein than those carried to full term, because normally they would still be getting that protein from the mother (via the placenta). A mother’s natural breast milk doesn’t contain that extra needed protein. So our processing adds that.

How large is the need?

Currently in the US, there are about 300,000 premature babies born each year. Worldwide, that number is about 15 million.

How do you collect the raw breast milk product you use?

We’ve had over 3,000 donor mothers since 2013 who do this from their homes. They receive ongoing testing from the American Red Cross and qualified Mother’s Milk Cooperative donors as well, to assure the donors health and safety, as well as verify the safety of the product. Medolac donor milk receives the most rigorous testing in the milk banking industry.

Do you pay the mothers for their donation?

Yes, the average donor earns $800 a month for her donation, and to date, we’ve paid over $2 million to our donors.

How does that work exactly?

Once the donor has been tested and certified, they pump or donate from home, and we send them special collection and shipping packages that they use to send us the product safely frozen and ready for processing.

What’s unique about your product?

We are the only shelf-stable, ready to use breast milk product on the market.

Why is this so important?

Babies born under 1500 grams, or less than 28 weeks old, have a lot of needs. You can find out more at the March of Dimes, but among several complications those babies can face, one of those diseases is called NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis). It’s a complicated and terrible intestinal disease that 10% of those babies can develop, and has been shown to be preventable by receiving natural breast milk. 50% of these babies who develop NEC will die, but usually only after enduring multiple surgeries, which is heartbreaking for the families, and also extremely expensive over time. Even those who survive this condition face medical complications for the rest of their lives. This is preventable.

What are the next steps at your new location?

Well, we’re working on getting our signage for the outside of the building! We’re also waiting on finalizing two new larger areas inside: one is a newer larger clean-room area for our processing, and also a larger thawing area.

Long term, how large do you see this operation becoming?

Once these expansions are completed, we’ll have the capacity to process 1000 gallons per day. The need is huge and we’ve been on an incredible growth trajectory, and are talking to new prospective customers in the US and abroad regularly. At this facility, we would be able to supply a good percentage of the world market.

 

Elena says they’re still actively looking for new employees. We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to hear from her directly – as you can tell these folks have big plans for this unique and special company. We’re glad to have them here in Boulder City with us, and can’t wait to see what lies ahead!

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