Press Release Details

Cerus Awarded NIH Grant to Develop Anthrax Vaccine

July, 28 2004

CONCORD, Calif. -- Cerus Corporation (Nasdaq:CERS) today announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded the company $3.8 million to develop an anthrax vaccine with greater potency than currently available vaccines. The grant will be awarded over a three-year period, and Cerus will receive approximately $1.4 million for the first year of development.

The awarded grant proposal, entitled "Psoralen-Killed Metabolically-Active Vaccine," was submitted in response to a request for applications under the NIAID Cooperative Research program for the development of vaccines for biodefense.

"We will utilize a novel approach to develop the anthrax vaccine, which is designed to combine the potency of traditional live-attenuated vaccines with the safety of killed or sub-unit vaccines," said Tom Dubensky, the principal investigator on the grant, and vice president of research at Cerus Corporation. "We believe we are able to accomplish this by applying the company's Helinx technology for inhibiting biological replication to modified vaccine strains of anthrax."

"We are very pleased to receive this grant from the NIH to help advance this promising program," said Claes Glassell, Cerus' president and chief executive officer. "In addition, this presents an opportunity to demonstrate the effectiveness of a novel approach to vaccines for infectious diseases."

Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus anthracis. The only licensed human anthrax vaccine, anthrax vaccine absorbed (AVA), was developed in the late 1950s and has limited immunogenicity. The NIH is interested in developing vaccines that are easier to administer and more potent than those currently available.

About Cerus

Cerus is developing novel technologies to provide safer and more effective options to patients in areas with substantial unmet medical needs. The Concord, California-based company is pursuing novel therapeutic vaccine technologies to harness the power of the immune system against cancer and infectious disease. In collaboration with MedImmune, Inc., Cerus is developing a therapeutic vaccine designed to target antigens expressed in breast, prostate and colon cancer, as well as metastatic melanoma. Cerus is also collaborating with subsidiaries of Baxter International Inc. on 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 is based on the company's Helinx technology for controlling biological replication. The INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets is currently being marketed in Europe.

Helinx is a trademark of Cerus Corporation. Baxter and INTERCEPT Blood are trademarks of Baxter International Inc.

Statements in this news release regarding potential efficacy and safety of products, funding of grants, product development and commercial potential 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 process, additional financing activities, manufacturing, market acceptance of any products, competitive conditions, long term growth opportunity of Cerus, legal proceedings, actions by Baxter and other factors discussed in the company's most recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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