CONCORD, Calif. & BERN, Switzerland & GENEVA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS), the University Hospitals of Geneva
(HUG) and their Blood Transfusion Center (CTS), and the Transfusion
Service of the Swiss Red Cross (Transfusion CRS Suisse or Blutspende SRK
Schwietz) announced today their intent to collaborate on adapting the
Cerus INTERCEPT Blood System for red cells to enable inactivation of
pathogens in whole blood, specifically for the African region. While
patients in developed countries receive platelet, plasma or red cell
transfusions, in many African countries whole blood transfusions remain
common, and require development of pathogen inactivation methods
optimized for use in local blood bank facilities.
The African blood supply is challenged by both transfusion-transmitted
diseases and a shortage of available units for transfusion. Pathogen
inactivation can provide protection from a broad range of
transfusion-transmitted diseases without further restricting the scarce
supply of blood donors. The collaboration is designed to draw on the
distinctive strengths of each organization to seek the funding necessary
to develop a whole blood PI system that can be evaluated in clinical use
“We believe pathogen inactivation is critical to blood safety
everywhere, and we currently use the INTERCEPT system to treat all
platelet units produced in Switzerland,” said Dr. Rudolf Schwabe, chief
executive officer of the Transfusion CRS Suisse. “Africa’s blood supply
is at risk from many transfusion-transmitted diseases that can be
prevented by use of pathogen inactivation. We see a great need in
ensuring the safety and availability of blood for those patients in
Africa who need it most.”
“In countries where whole blood transfusions are used to treat acute and
chronic anemia as well as post-partum hemorrhage, the opportunity to
reduce the risk of bloodborne diseases fits perfectly with the aim of
our university hospital policy to develop international medical
cooperation, training and humanitarian health actions to improve global
health,” commented Dr. Soraya Amar-El Dusouqui, project director,
CTS-HUG (University Hospitals of Geneva).
Blood safety and supply are of major health concern in Africa. Only an
estimated 40 percent of the demand for transfusions is currently being
supplied (Bloch et al, Transfusion Medicine Reviews, 2012
Apr;26:164-80). Obstetric hemorrhage, sickle cell disease and childhood
anemia, HIV, malaria and traffic accidents are among the many
indications requiring transfusion as a critical life-saving intervention.
At the same time, local blood donors frequently have significant rates
of well-known transfusion-transmitted agents like HIV, HTLV, hepatitis
and bacteria, as well as infections endemic to the region including
malaria, dengue, Chikungunya and yellow fever.
Unlike other blood safety techniques, pathogen inactivation is able to
provide protection from a broad range of viruses, bacteria and parasites
from a single added safety step. Cerus’ INTERCEPT systems for platelets
and plasma are already used in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent
States (CIS) and the Middle East. The INTERCEPT red cell system is
anticipated to begin phase III trials in Europe later this year. To
treat whole blood in Africa, a treatment system must be designed to work
within the limited infrastructure of local blood banks and hospitals, as
well as effectively inactivating bloodborne pathogens.
“We are honored to join HUG, CTS, and SRK in the pursuit of a pathogen
inactivation system to improve blood safety in Africa where the
technology can have a great impact in improving human health,“ said
William ‘Obi’ Greenman, Cerus’ president and chief executive officer.
"Pathogen inactivation is being increasingly used in Europe, CIS and the
Middle East, and, like our collaborators in this project, we feel an
obligation to bring this technology to regions like Africa where it has
the potential to transform blood safety."
Cerus Corporation is a biomedical products company focused on
commercializing the INTERCEPT Blood System to enhance blood safety. The
INTERCEPT system is designed to reduce the risk of
transfusion-transmitted diseases by inactivating a broad range of
pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites that may be present in
donated blood. The nucleic acid targeting mechanism of action enables
INTERCEPT treatment to inactivate established transfusion threats, such
as hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile virus and bacteria, and is designed
to inactivate emerging pathogens such as influenza, malaria and dengue.
Cerus currently markets and sells the INTERCEPT Blood System for both
platelets and plasma in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States,
the Middle East and selected countries in other regions around the
world. The INTERCEPT red blood cell system is in clinical development.
for more information.
INTERCEPT and INTERCEPT Blood System are trademarks of Cerus Corporation.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. Any
statements contained in this press release that are not statements of
historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements,
including, without limitation, statements relating to the intended
collaborative activities of the parties, the potential efficacy,
development and clinical evaluation of an INTERCEPT system adapted for
use with whole blood and the anticipated timing of initiating Phase III
INTERCEPT red blood cell studies in Europe. These forward-looking
statements are based upon Cerus’ current expectations. Actual
results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements as
a result of certain factors, including, without limitation, risks
associated with development and clinical evaluation of the INTERCEPT
system for whole blood and for red blood cells, the risk that available
funding may not be available to support whole blood-related activities
under the proposed collaboration, risks associated with dependence on
third-party potential collaborators to support whole blood-related
development activities and other risks detailed in the Cerus' filings
with, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including in Cerus'
annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, filed
with the SEC on March 5, 2012. You are cautioned not to place undue
reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the
date of this press release. Cerus 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