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Little Rock pathology lab announces expansion

Arkana Laboratories Executive Director Dr. Chris Larsen (center) applauds alongside Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Gov. Asa Hutchinson and lab employees at the company's west Little Rock headquarters.
Daniel Breen
Arkana Laboratories Executive Director Dr. Chris Larsen (center) applauds alongside Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and lab employees at the company's west Little Rock headquarters.

A central Arkansas company providing medical pathology services for providers across the country is expanding.

Arkana Laboratories announced on Wednesday that it plans to expand its west Little Rock headquarters, with the aim of hiring 74 more employees by the year 2028.

Speaking at the company’s headquarters, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said it reflects his administration’s efforts to attract new high-tech jobs to the state.

“We want to be able to expand our economy and recognize that our economy is based upon tourism, it’s based upon agriculture, it’s based upon our military installations, and it’s based upon new technology jobs that are represented here today,” Hutchinson said. “Our economic development support goes to not just traditional manufacturing, but it’s broad-based to those that are going to create jobs for the future.”

Since its founding in 2001, Arkana has grown to be the largest center for renal pathology in the United States. Executive Director Dr. Chris Larsen says the company hopes to continue expanding, with a goal of having 170 employees by the end of the year.

“This year we plan to process more than 24,000 kidney biopsies from 44 states. In fact, it’s estimated that about 40% of all the kidney biopsies performed in the U.S. end up right back here at Arkana Laboratories,” Larsen said.

The company examines samples of kidney tissue collected through biopsies, which can be used to diagnose diseases, evaluate organ damage and monitor progression of chronic illness.

Jim Cargill, board chair of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, says it’s a welcome addition to help strengthen the diverse economy of central Arkansas.

“We’ve had tremendous growth over the past several years, in particular in the area of manufacturing, transportation, logistics, financial services and financial technology in a huge way," Cargill said. "With today’s announcement, we’re adding to the opportunity to grow the healthcare sector which has always been so critically important to this area of Arkansas and even to the state.”

Larsen says the company is also receiving $2.5 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to go toward new research and development.

Daniel Breen is News Director of Little Rock Public Radio.