CONCORD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) announced today that the American Red Cross has signed a multi-year purchase agreement for the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma, which inactivates a broad spectrum of viruses, gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, spirochetes, parasites and leukocytes and is intended to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infection (TTI) in platelet and plasma components.
The American Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood products in the United States. The Red Cross collects and processes approximately 40 percent of the blood supply, distributing about 780,000 platelet and 1.1 million plasma units last year to nearly 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.
“The Red Cross is dedicated to blood safety vigilance including pathogen reduction. The INTERCEPT Blood System will serve as an intervention to protect patients against infection from emerging and potentially unknown blood-borne viruses, bacteria and parasites," said Dr. Susan Stramer, vice president, Scientific Affairs, Red Cross Biomedical Services.
The need for blood safety is large and global. Worldwide, nearly 100 million transfusions occur annually, and patients typically receive multiple units of donated blood components during treatment. In many cases, physicians and patients have no alternatives to blood transfusions, and frequently these transfusions are lifesaving.
Recognized as a safe, effective, and reliable choice of European blood centers for over a decade, Cerus’ INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma received FDA approval in December 2014. The system is designed to enhance the safety of donated blood components by inactivating a variety of pathogens, as well as potentially harmful white blood cells. It also allows blood centers to replace common blood center safety measures, including bacterial detection, CMV screening, and gamma irradiation.
The INTERCEPT Blood System is based on a simple premise – platelets and plasma contain no functional DNA or RNA. However, pathogens and harmful white blood cells all do. Pathogen reduction is designed to block the replication process so that harmful viruses, bacteria, and parasites can no longer multiply and cause disease. Unlike current blood testing methods, pathogen reduction achieved by the INTERCEPT Blood System is not limited to particular nucleic acid sequences or specific families of pathogens. By neutralizing pathogens, the INTERCEPT Blood System offers a proactive approach to reducing transfusion-transmitted infections, even those for which there are currently no screening or testing methods.
“This agreement with the Red Cross represents a pivotal step toward making INTERCEPT-treated components available to a majority of patients throughout the U.S.," commented William "Obi" Greenman, Cerus’ president and chief executive officer. “Working closely with the Red Cross as part of the TRUE study in Puerto Rico has provided both organizations with important operational experience that we will be able to leverage as the INTERCEPT Blood System is broadly deployed at Red Cross sites nationally.”
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Cerus Corporation is a biomedical products company focused in the field of blood transfusion safety. The INTERCEPT Blood System is designed to reduce the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections 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 of the INTERCEPT treatment is designed to inactivate established transfusion threats, such as Hepatitis B and C, HIV, West Nile Virus and bacteria, as well as emerging pathogens such as chikungunya, malaria and dengue. Cerus currently markets and sells the INTERCEPT Blood System for both platelets and plasma in the United States, 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 www.cerus.com for information about Cerus.
INTERCEPT and the INTERCEPT Blood System are trademarks of Cerus Corporation.
Cerus Investor Relations Contacts:
Stacey Leanos - Associate Director, Investor & Public Relations
Lainie Corten - Vice President, Global Marketing & Investor Relations
Cerus Media Contact:
W2O Communications & Media, Inc.
Dan Boyle, 818-209-1692
American Red Cross Media Contact:
Jodi Sheedy, 202-303-5857
Senior Manager, Biomedical Communications