Press Release Details

Cerus and Baxter Report Inactivation of Trypanosoma Cruzi Parasite; Data Demonstrates That Helinx Technology Inactivates Deadly Parasite Known to Cause Chagas Disease

October, 15 2001

Business Editors & Health/Medical Writers

SAN ANTONIO, Texas--(BW HealthWire)--Oct. 15, 2001

Cerus Corp. (Nasdaq:CERS) and Baxter Healthcare Corp. today announced preclinical data demonstrating the ability of Helinx technology to inactivate Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi), a parasite that causes a chronic and debilitating illness called Chagas disease. The parasite can be transmitted through blood transfusion, but currently there are no routine tests used to screen donated blood for this pathogen. The data were presented at the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) 54th Annual Meeting in San Antonio.

"The exciting data demonstrate the power of Helinx, with its DNA-targeting mechanism of action, to inactivate these parasites," said Stephen T. Isaacs, president and chief executive officer of Cerus. "These additional inactivation data will be used to support regulatory submissions for the INTERCEPT Platelet System, our first application of the Helinx technology, and will be added to results showing that our technologies also inactivate viruses, bacteria and other pathogens."

Kent Dupuis, the scientist who heads the pathogen inactivation efforts at Cerus, presented the data at the meeting. In the in vitro study, therapeutic doses of donor platelets were inoculated with high levels of T. cruzi. The inoculated blood was then treated with the Helinx process. The results demonstrated inactivation and reduction of T. cruzi to undetectable levels.

T. cruzi, a parasite related to the agent that causes African sleeping sickness, causes a life-threatening infection called Chagas disease. Severe symptoms develop 10-20 years after a period of chronic infection and include irreversible damage to internal structures, namely the heart, esophagus and colon, and the peripheral nervous system. Of those infected, approximately 25 percent develop cardiac symptoms which may lead to sudden death. Although rare in the United States, the World Health Organization estimates there are 18 million cases of T. cruzi infection globally and that 100 million people are living at risk. Treatments for Chagas disease are limited.

Cerus and Baxter are collaborating on the development of the INTERCEPT Blood Systems, which utilize Helinx technology, to enhance the safety of blood transfusions. The companies are seeking U.S. and European approval of the INTERCEPT Platelet System and are conducting a Phase III clinical trial of the INTERCEPT Plasma System. In addition, the companies are preparing to begin a Phase III clinical trial of the INTERCEPT Red Blood Cell System.


Cerus Corp. is developing medical systems and therapeutics based on its proprietary Helinx(TM) technology for controlling biological replication. Cerus' most advanced programs are focused on systems to enhance the safety of the blood products used for transfusion. These INTERCEPT Blood Systems, based on the company's Helinx technology, are designed to inactivate viruses, bacteria, other pathogens and white blood cells. The Concord, Calif.-based company also is pursuing therapeutic applications of Helinx technology to treat and prevent serious diseases.


Baxter Healthcare Corp. is the principal domestic operating subsidiary of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX). Baxter is a global medical products and services company that, through its subsidiaries, provides critical therapies for people with life-threatening conditions. The company's products and services in bioscience (biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, biosurgery and transfusion therapies), medication delivery and renal therapy are used by health-care providers and their patients more than 100 countries.

Statements in this news release regarding product development and product 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, market acceptance of any products, competitive conditions and other factors discussed in the companies most recent reports on Forms 10K, 10Q and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Note to Editors: Helinx is a trademark of Cerus Corp.

INTERCEPT Blood System, INTERCEPT Platelet System, INTERCEPT Plasma System and INTERCEPT Red Blood Cell System are trademarks of Baxter International Inc.

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