CONCORD, Calif. & SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ: CERS), a biomedical products company focused on improving blood transfusion safety, today announced that Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos in Puerto Rico has signed a purchase agreement for the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma to help protect the local blood supply during the Zika outbreak.
“Puerto Rico relies heavily on our local volunteer donation network, which provides the bulk of our blood supply. Utilizing INTERCEPT for platelets and plasma will allow us to continue to do so, as well as alleviate some of the cost burden and additional logistics associated with purchasing blood components from the continental US due to the Zika guidelines set forth by the FDA,” said Jose O. Alsina, vice president and chief operating officer of Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos, Puerto Rico’s largest blood bank. “INTERCEPT is a critical technology to secure the safety and availability of the Puerto Rican blood supply and ensure safety for patients from transfusion related transmission of Zika virus during this outbreak.”
“During past emerging virus outbreaks, we have been able to implement INTERCEPT in a timely and cost effective manner,” said William “Obi” Greenman Cerus’ president and chief executive officer. ”We will be working closely with the team at Servicios Mutuos to ensure that they can provide pathogen-reduced platelet and plasma units to their hospitals in the weeks to come in order to comply with the Zika guidance measures issued by the FDA and WHO.”
In February 2016, both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidance documents that acknowledged the risk of Zika virus transmission via blood transfusion and identified appropriate blood safety measures to reduce transfusion risks, including the use of pathogen reduction technology.
As outbreaks such as these demonstrate, pathogens continually emerge and present an ongoing threat to public health. Testing for emerging pathogens is inherently a reactive approach, requiring identification of specific pathogens for which tests can then be developed and implemented. There is typically a considerable lag between the emergence of a new pathogen and the recognition that an additional safety intervention may be needed. In contrast, pathogen reduction is a proactive safety measure that can be implemented quickly to protect the blood supply.
The INTERCEPT Blood System is based on the premise that 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, independent of whether they have been identified as specific blood supply risks.
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 http://www.cerus.com for information about Cerus.
INTERCEPT and INTERCEPT Blood System are trademarks of Cerus Corporation.
About Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos, Inc
Established since 1980, Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos is dedicated to providing blood and blood derivatives according to all Federal and State regulations to the community in Puerto Rico. With a workforce of approximately 200 professionals, Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos serves as a centralized transfusion service to the 10 major hospitals in the San Juan Metropolitan area, as well as primary supplier to 30 hospitals islandwide. Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos is committed to providing the safest and purest products to the patients in the community we serve.
Stacey Leanos - Associate Director, Investor & Public Relations
Lainie Corten - Vice President, Global Marketing & Investor Relations
Banco de Sangre de Servicios Mutuos
Jose O. Alsina, 787-751-6115
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer