Press Release Details

Cerus Corporation Awarded Grants for Its Listeria-Based Vaccine Platforms

March, 05 2007

Live Attenuated and KBMA Technologies Being Evaluated to Prevent or Treat Severe Chronic Infections Representing Significant Unmet Medical Needs

CONCORD, Calif., Mar 05, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) announced today the receipt of two research grants to develop vaccines based on its proprietary Listeria platforms. These grants fund early-stage work to develop vaccines to both treat and prevent infections caused by HCV and HIV.

The first grant, awarded to researches at Cerus and two collaborators from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is entitled, "Development of Listeria-based Clinical Consensus HCV Vaccine Candidates." This grant was received from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a division of the National Institutes of Health.

The collaboration brings together HCV consensus sequence antigens defined at JHU and Cerus' proprietary vaccine platforms that naturally target innate and adaptive immune response to the liver, which is the natural reservoir for chronic HCV infection. These vaccines could be used alternatively to treat individuals with chronic HCV infection or to prevent infection with the virus.

The second grant was awarded to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, which is participating in the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD) initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Cerus will provide HIV vaccine prototypes to Fred Hutchinson's CAVD consortium for evaluation in non-human primate models of HIV infection.

Both the proprietary live-attenuated and KBMA Listeria vaccine platforms developed at Cerus will be evaluated in the HCV and HIV programs. The live-attenuated vaccine platform strain, also known as CRS-100, is currently being tested in an ongoing Phase I clinical trial in study subjects who have advanced carcinoma and hepatic metastases, and are refractory to standard therapy (clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT00327652).

"These grants fund early-stage efforts to develop novel immune based approaches to treat or prevent severe chronic infections," said Thomas W. Dubensky, Ph.D., vice president of research, Cerus Corporation. "We are pleased by the continuing recognition by external agencies of the scientific merit of the Cerus vaccine technology."

For chronic viral infections, such as HCV and HIV, it is generally accepted that virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell based immunity are essential for both vaccine induced protective immunity and/or therapeutic efficacy. Due to its intracellular lifecycle, recombinant Listeria induces potent cellular immunity specific for vaccine-encoded antigens.

ABOUT CERUS

Cerus Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes novel, proprietary products in the fields of blood safety and immunotherapy to provide safer, more effective medical options to patients in areas of substantial unmet medical needs. In the field of blood safety, the company is developing and commercializing the INTERCEPT Blood System, which is based on the company's proprietary Helinx technology and is designed to enhance the safety of donated blood components by inactivating viruses, bacteria, parasites and other pathogens, as well as potentially harmful white blood cells. In the field of immunotherapy, the company is employing its proprietary attenuated Listeria vaccine platform to develop a series of novel therapies to treat cancer. CRS-100 is the first immunotherapy candidate to be developed in this program, and this drug is currently being evaluated in a Phase I clinical study. The company is also developing its proprietary Killed But Metabolically Active (KBMA) vaccine platform for application to prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for infectious diseases.

INTERCEPT, INTERCEPT Blood System and Helinx are trademarks of Cerus Corporation.

This press release contains forward-looking statements. For this purpose, any statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements including references to the receipt of milestone payments, and the timing thereof. Words such as "estimate," "expect" and similar words or expressions or the negative of these words or expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including, without limitation, the risk that the offering will not be completed due to failure to satisfy the closing conditions related to the offering or other reasons, as well as other risks detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, changed assumptions or otherwise.

SOURCE: Cerus Corporation

Cerus Corporation
Myesha Edwards, 925-288-6017
Corporate Communications & Investor Relations

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