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Blood lab expands to Norcross

NORCROSS -- QualTex Laboratories, a Texas-based independent blood testing lab, is expanding operations to Norcross, officials announced Tuesday.

The lab's expansion will create 125 high-wage jobs, invest nearly $12 million dollars over five years, and adds to the growing bioscience industry in Gwinnett and Georgia's Innovation Crescent, according to a news release.

Established as an independent affiliate of the South Texas Blood & Tissue Center in 2007, QualTex has grown into a worldwide provider of blood testing solutions. It is the largest independent testing lab in the United States for blood and plasma products, providing infectious disease testing services to blood banks and plasma center customers worldwide.

"We expect to hire highly trained, expert clinical laboratory scientists, certified lab technicians, quality specialists, materials management personnel and general management personnel," said Norman D. Kalmin, CEO of South Texas Blood & Tissue Center and CEO-designate of QualTex. "We chose Gwinnett and metro Atlanta because it's a leading medical commercial center in the Southeast, where we know we can find a quality work force, and it helps us serve our growth and customers along the Eastern seaboard. It's a logical choice."

In addition to Georgia's pro-business climate, QualTex selected the metropolitan Atlanta area from among competing sites due in part to the access to highly skilled labor for this industry and the competitive advantages provided by Gwinnett and metro Atlanta's convenient access to the lab's East Coast clients, the news release states.

"Gwinnett sits at the heart of the Innovation Crescent -- Georgia's hub for life science and medical device business, research and work force development -- making QualTex's decision to relocate to our metro Atlanta community quite simple," Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister said. "We welcome them to our region and look forward to growing together."

Kornelius Bankston, Georgia Department of Economic Development health sciences and advanced technology project manager, and Nick Masino, vice president of economic development for the Gwinnett Chamber, worked together to recruit and expand QualTex Laboratories in Georgia and Gwinnett.

"Our focus, as always, is to provide tailored relocation assistance to companies looking to relocate to metro Atlanta," Masino said. "Offering a robust and strong bioscience business community, a vibrant quality of life for employees and multiple work force development programs through high school and postsecondary programs at local and regional institutions, Gwinnett and Georgia had the complete package for QualTex's continued growth and expansion in the Southeast. We are pleased to see them join our business environment."

The QualTex Norcross facility will screen whole blood and plasma donations. Once fully operational, the lab expects to test more than 8 million biological samples, doubling its current operations. QualTex also plans to house a data center on site at its new facility.