CONCORD, Calif. & BERN, Switzerland & GENEVA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS), announced today that the Swiss Red Cross Humanitarian Foundation has awarded a grant of 2 million Swiss Francs to Cerus, the University Hospital of Basel, and the Swiss Transfusion SRC to complete the necessary clinical studies to develop a whole blood pathogen inactivation system for use in Africa.
While patients in developed countries receive platelet, plasma, or red cell transfusions, in many African countries, whole blood transfusions remain common, requiring the development of a robust whole blood pathogen inactivation system optimized for use within the limited infrastructure of local blood banks and hospitals.
Obstetric hemorrhage, sickle cell disease, and childhood anemia, are among the many conditions in Africa requiring transfusion as a critical life-saving intervention. The African blood supply is also challenged by transfusion-transmitted diseases endemic to the region, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, and yellow fever. At the same time, local blood donors have significant rates of well-known infectious agents such as HIV, HTLV, and hepatitis, all of which can also be transmitted via transfusion.
“Blood safety is a significant health concern in Africa, where a number of endemic pathogens may be present in donated blood,” said Dr. Rudolf Schwabe, chief executive officer of Swiss Transfusion SRC. “We have an obligation to bring this technology to Africa and other regions where it has the potential to vastly improve blood safety."
“The whole blood pathogen inactivation system we’ve developed is a manual process that is easy to use in remote settings, without the need for electricity. A product like this would have a tremendous impact on human health in Africa,“ said William ‘Obi’ Greenman, Cerus’ president and chief executive officer. “The studies funded by this grant, as well as the ability to leverage synergies from the development of our red cell system, will bring us one step closer to whole blood pathogen inactivation for Africa, which will ensure blood safety and availability for those patients who need it most.”
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.