Plasma fractionation is a unique biotechnology and bioengineering industry characterized by its capacity to extract a diverse range of protein therapeutics that are often the only options for treating life‐threatening pathological conditions of patients suffering from bleeding, immunological disorders, infections or trauma. Current plasma products include several coagulation factors, polyvalent and hyperimmune immunoglobulins (Igs), albumin, protease inhibitors and anticoagulants. In many pathological situations, these products are used for long‐term replacement therapy to compensate for a congenital or acquired protein deficiency. Most products are obtained by plasma fractionation technologies that derive from the cold ethanol fractionation process developed in the mid‐/late 1940s by Cohn and collaborators. Still, in the last 20 years, this core technology has undergone substantial evolutions illustrated by the integration of several viral reduction steps for all products and by the introduction of chromatographic purification steps to extract labile proteins from cryoprecipitate‐poor plasma. The most recent technological changes, intended mostly to improve recoveries and remove trace protein contaminants, concern the production process of intravenous Igs through implementing chromatographic steps and caprylic acid treatment in early stages of the ethanol fractionation process. A number of new fractionation technologies are currently under development and have not been licensed at least for the time being by major regulatory authorities. One target of these technologies is to improve the recovery of the most important plasma protein products, under conditions facilitating large‐scale implementation in emerging countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-25
JournalVox Sanguinis
Publication statusPublished - Jun 28 2016


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