Press Release Details

Cerus Announces Scientific Advisory Board for Therapeutic Vaccine Development

April, 28 2004

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

CONCORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 28, 2004

Cerus Corporation (Nasdaq:CERS) today announced the membership of a Scientific Advisory Board to advise the company on research and development related to Cerus' therapeutic vaccine program for cancer and infectious disease.

"We are honored to have attracted leading experts in immunotherapy to our Scientific Advisory Board," said Stephen T. Isaacs, president and chief executive officer of Cerus. "The extensive knowledge and experience of these pre-eminent thought leaders will be key to accelerating our vaccine program to develop important therapeutics for patients."

Chaired by Dr. Drew Pardoll of The Johns Hopkins University, the board includes distinguished scientists and clinicians with expertise in areas critical to the development of therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines, including microbiology, cancer, and immunology. These scientific advisors are expected to contribute significantly to the direction of Cerus' novel vaccine program by being involved in the ongoing strategic and technical review of clinical research and product development.

Members of the vaccine Scientific Advisory Board include:

Drew M. Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., is the Seraphim Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University and chairs Cerus' Vaccine Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Pardoll is an internationally recognized authority in cancer immunology and immunotherapy. He is noted for demonstrating the central role of GM-CSF in stimulating dendritic cells in vivo. In addition, he is a co-inventor of cytokine-gene-transduced tumor vaccines that are currently in clinical trials.

James P. Allison, Ph.D., is Professor of Immunology at the University of California, Berkeley and an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Allison was the first person to isolate the T-cell antigen receptor protein, a breakthrough which has been called one of the three most important findings in immunology in the last 20 years. He identified the function of the CTLA-4 protein on T-cells, and an antibody to inhibit this target is currently in clinical trials as a novel immunotherapeutic for cancer. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Nina Bhardwaj, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Medicine at the New York University of Medicine, and Director of the Cancer Vaccine Program. Dr. Bhardwaj has worked at the boundary between basic research and clinical applications, resulting in the discovery of methods to prepare dendritic cells from human blood monocytes and in the identification of dendritic cells as potent stimulators of helper cell and anti-viral immunity in humans. She has been recognized with numerous honors, including the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award and the Elizabeth Glaser Scientist Award for her contributions in pediatric AIDS.

Philip D. Greenberg, M.D., has a joint appointment with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Division of Oncology at the University of Washington. Since 1988, Dr. Greenberg has also served as the Director of the Immunology Program of the UW Center for AIDS Research. His laboratory is involved in studies elucidating the immunobiology of host T-cell responses to infectious viruses and transformed cells. He is noted for his elegant studies using adaptive T-cell immunology in patients. Dr. Greenberg is a charter member of the Academy of Cancer Immunology.

Elizabeth M. Jaffee, M.D., is a Professor of Oncology and Immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she is an internationally recognized leader in the field of cancer vaccine development. Dr. Jaffee also runs a research laboratory investigating the mechanisms by which the immune system is modified in patients with cancer. Dr. Jaffee is a member of a number of national cancer organizations and serves on a number of national advisory boards. Dr. Jaffee recently appointed as the first recipient of the Dana and Albert Broccoli Endowed Professorship in Oncology.

Daniel A. Portnoy, Ph.D., has a joint appointment as Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. The focus of Dr. Portnoy's laboratory is elucidating the molecular basis of pathogenesis of intracellular bacteria in mice, particularly Listeria monocytogenes. Dr. Portnoy is the inventor of several approaches using intracellular bacteria as vaccine vectors and intracellular delivery vehicles. He is the recipient of the Eli Lilly and Company Research Award in Microbiology and Immunology.

ABOUT CERUS' THERAPEUTIC VACCINE PROGRAM

Cerus is developing proprietary, versatile active agents to stimulate the immune system to target and attack pathogenic cells. This platform technology employs specially engineered strains of the intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Cerus scientists have demonstrated that proprietary strains of Listeria are capable of inducing potent immune responses in laboratory tests. The combination of proprietary strains of Listeria with specific cancer antigens has the potential to harness the power of the immune system to selectively attack malignant cells. For example, Cerus acquired certain exclusive rights to Mesothelin, a cancer antigen expressed in the vast majority of primary pancreatic and ovarian malignancies. Cerus also entered into an agreement with MedImmune to develop a therapeutic vaccine designed to treat cancers of the breast, prostate and colon, as well as metastatic melanomas. Additionally, Cerus is developing vaccine approaches using its Helinx(R) technology, which are designed to create safe and potent therapies for infectious disease.

ABOUT CERUS

Cerus Corporation is developing novel technologies to provide safer and more effective options to patients in areas with substantial unmet medical needs. Cerus' most advanced program is the INTERCEPT Blood System, designed to enhance the safety of the world's blood supply by inactivating viruses, bacteria, other pathogens and white blood cells. The INTERCEPT Blood System, which is being developed in collaboration with subsidiaries of Baxter International Inc., is based on the company's Helinx technology for controlling biological replication. The Concord, California-based company is also pursuing novel vaccine technologies, which are being developed to harness the power of the immune system against cancer and infectious disease.

Statements in this news release regarding product research and development, potential efficacy of therapeutics and prophylactics for cancer and infectious diseases, potential efficacy of the INTERCEPT Blood System are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from the above forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including the risks and uncertainty of the timing and results of clinical trials and other development activities, actions by regulatory authorities at any stage of the development and commercialization process, additional financing activities, manufacturing, market acceptance of any products, competitive conditions, long term growth opportunity of Cerus and other factors discussed in the company's most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Helinx is a trademark of Cerus Corporation

INTERCEPT and INTERCEPT Blood are trademarks of Baxter International Inc.

 

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