Press Release Details

Cerus Increases Development Focus on Therapeutic Vaccines

June, 30 2004

CONCORD, CALIF., June 30, 2004 – Cerus Corporation (Nasdaq:   CERS) today announced that the company is realigning its operations to focus more intensively on its program to develop therapeutic vaccines against cancer and infectious disease.   

As a result of the realignment, the company will reduce its current workforce by approximately 35% and cash use for operations going forward to an annual rate of approximately $12-15 million from the previously projected $30-35 million.   There will be a one-time restructuring expense of approximately $3 million in the second quarter.

The company's vaccine program, initiated two and a half years ago, is based on proprietary technology that, in combination with specific cancer antigens, has demonstrated the potential to induce potent immune responses against malignant cells.   In addition, the company is applying its technology to develop safer and more effective vaccines against infectious disease.

“We are excited about the potential for the innovative vaccine program to provide a more effective therapy for a broad range of cancers.   We plan to file at least one IND with the FDA by the end of 2005,” said Claes Glassell, president and chief executive officer, Cerus Corporation.   “At the same time, we continue to believe in the value of a proactive approach to blood safety and plan to maintain a measured investment in INTERCEPT while the market develops.”

The INTERCEPT Blood System is designed to enhance the safety of the world's blood supply by inactivating viruses, bacteria, other pathogens and white blood cells in blood components intended for transfusion.   The company plans to continue technical support of Baxter's commercial efforts for INTERCEPT Platelets in Europe.   The company also intends to work with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on advancing the regulatory approval process.   Cerus expects to continue its development activities in the INTERCEPT Plasma program at a reduced rate, allowing the company to meet financial objectives while fulfilling critical program activities.   Selected research and development activities will continue with its red blood cell program.   In addition, the company plans to work with Baxter to pursue commercial opportunities for the INTERCEPT Blood System in geographical areas outside of North America and Europe.  

In the vaccine program, Cerus has entered into a strategic collaboration with MedImmune to develop a therapeutic vaccine targeting an antigen expressed in breast, prostate and colon cancers.   The company has also licensed an antigen from The Johns Hopkins University that is prevalently expressed in pancreatic and ovarian tumors.   The company intends to continue to partner with companies having proprietary antigen targets and to pursue its own products.

The company has scheduled a conference call to discuss this announcement for 4:30 p.m. EDT today. Interested parties can access a live Internet broadcast at For those unable to listen to the live broadcast, the call will be archived at

Cerus Corporation 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 a novel therapeutic vaccine platform to harness the power of the immune system against cancer and infectious disease.   In collaboration with MedImmune, Inc., Cerus is developing and commercializing 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.

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, further data analyses, potential regulatory filings, 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, uncertainty of the outcome of further data analyses and of the acceptability of any data analyses to regulatory authorities, 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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