- Goal of research collaboration is to develop a standardized, pathogen-inactivated treatment option for anemia patients requiring red blood cell transfusions
- New York Blood Center will contribute expertise in red blood cell collection, separation, storage and transfusion
- Cerus' INTERCEPT pathogen inactivation technology will be applied to enhance safety against transfusion-transmitted infectious threats
Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ: CERS) and New York Blood Center (NYBC) announced today that they have entered into a research collaboration to explore the possibility of creating a red blood cell (RBC) biologic product with improved uniformity compared to a standard unit of red blood cells.
Because RBC units are currently prepared from a single blood donation, the broad variability across the population of blood donors can lead to significant differences in the volume and hemoglobin content of individual RBC units. The collaboration will investigate whether small- to medium-scale pooling of RBC units can provide a product with more consistent characteristics while maintaining compatibility with major and most common minor blood group antigens. Cerus' INTERCEPT Blood System red cell pathogen inactivation process will be included as a step in preparing the novel red cell product, to provide enhanced protection against transfusion-transmitted disease. The collaboration will also investigate the use of advanced RBC storage solutions to extend storage time and optimize characteristics of the stored red cells.
"This ultimate goal of this collaboration is to provide a better and more uniform way to treat patients with anemia," said Dr. Beth Shaz, chief medical officer of the NYBC. "We are excited about the potential to offer a safer product, which will decrease risk of transfusion transmitted diseases, decrease risk of forming potentially harmful antibodies, and improve overall transfusion outcomes. We believe Cerus' INTERCEPT technology is the obvious choice to marry with our internal initiative to improve red cell product uniformity and safety."
"We welcome this opportunity to work with the NYBC, which has a long history of pioneering pathogen inactivation for the plasma derivatives industry, as well as an excellent reputation in the field of transfusion medicine research," commented Dr. Adonis Stassinopoulos, Cerus' vice president of scientific affairs. "We've built an extensive network of research collaborations in Europe arising from our commercial activities there over the last six years, and we look forward to increasing our U.S. focus as we pursue FDA approval of our INTERCEPT products."
Cerus' INTERCEPT pathogen inactivation system is designed to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections by inactivating a broad range of pathogens, such as the viruses, bacteria and parasites that may be present in donated blood. The system is approved in Europe for treatment of platelets and plasma and used by over 100 blood centers in Europe, CIS and the Middle East. The INTERCEPT red cell system, under development to treat individual RBC units, is planned to begin Phase III trials in Europe later this year. The Cerus-NYBC collaboration represents a new application of the INTERCEPT technology, applying the pathogen inactivation treatment process to the novel red cell biologic product under development.
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, both organizations will support their own costs in the research effort. Terms for commercialization of the resulting product are to be negotiated once proof of principle has been established.
ABOUT NEW YORK BLOOD CENTER
New York Blood Center (NYBC) is one of the nation's largest non-profit, community-based blood centers. NYBC has been providing blood, transfusion products and services to hospitals serving more than 20 million people in New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley, New Jersey, and parts of Connecticut and Pennsylvania. NYBC is also home to the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute and the National Cord Blood Program at the Howard P. Milstein National Cord Blood Center, the world's largest public cord blood bank. NYBC provides medical services and programs (Clinical, Transfusion, and Hemophilia Services) through medical professionals along with consultative services in transfusion medicine. See http://www.nybloodcenter.org for more information.
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. See http://www.cerus.com for more information.
INTERCEPT and the 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 future research and other activities by Cerus andNYBC under the collaboration, the potential characteristics and performance of the proposed red blood cell product and the potential benefits to red blood cell transfusion recipients, and future U.S. product development activities by Cerus. 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 the uncertain research and product development process, including the risks that proof of principle may never be established and/or that the proposed red blood cell product could fail at any stage of the development process, risks related to regulatory review and oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the risks that Cerus and NYBC may not fulfill their respective obligations under the collaboration agreement or that the collaboration agreement may not be maintained, risks related to Cerus' need for additional capital, 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.
Lainie Corten, 925-288-6319
Sr Director, Global Communications & Investor Relations
New York Blood Center
Jim Fox, 212-835-1816
Director, Corporate Communications