Partnership to Initiate Development of Whole Blood Pathogen Inactivation for Sub-Saharan Africa

  Partnership to Initiate Development of Whole Blood Pathogen Inactivation for
  Sub-Saharan Africa

Business Wire

CONCORD, Calif. -- March 26, 2014

Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ: CERS) announcedtoday that the Humanitarian
Foundation Swiss Red Cross has granted funds to Swiss Tranfusion SRC
(Blutspende SRK Schweiz) to adapt the INTERCEPT Blood System for red blood
cells for pathogen inactivation and transfusion of whole blood, specifically
for sub-Saharan African countries. The initial funding of 1.5 million Swiss
Francs will support the feasibility phase of the project and completion of in
vitro studies to support patient clinical trials.

Cerus is a key collaborator together with the SRTS Geneva, located in the
University Hospital of Geneva (HUG), and Swiss Transfusion SRC (Blutspende SRK
Schweiz) to enable the use of Cerus’ INTERCEPT technology to demonstrate the
technical feasibility of pathogen inactivation (PI) in whole blood. Unlike
developed countries, where platelet, plasma or red cell components are
transfused, the common practice in many African countries is to transfuse
whole blood.

“We believe pathogen inactivation for whole blood has the potential to improve
the safety of transfusions in sub-Saharan Africa, where diminished blood
availability due to severe anemia from malaria, HIV and obstetric bleeding is
common,” said Dr. Rudolf Schwabe, chief executive officer of the Swiss Red
Cross. “Based on our experience over the past three years with the INTERCEPT
System, we have seen first-hand the substantial impact that pathogen
inactivation has had in reducing transfusion transmitted infectious risk in
platelets and plasma; this technology should be made available to developing
countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, where the risk of bacterial
contamination is about 2,500 times greater than in Switzerland, and ten to
fifteen percent of HIV infections are caused by contaminated transfusions.”

In addition to well-known transfusion-transmitted pathogens such as HIV, HBV,
HCV and bacteria, risk remains high due to pathogens that are endemic to
African countries such as chikungunya, dengue, malaria, and Leishmania, for
which screening assays may not be readily available.

"The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that safety of the blood supply
is a priority for all countries and a particular challenge in sub-Saharan
Africa,” said Dr. Edward Kelley, Acting Director for Service Delivery and
Safety at WHO. “Though not the only initiative in this area globally, this
project has particular promise and WHO has a history of working with the
University of Geneva Hospitals and Swiss blood safety colleagues to advance
safety priorities in Africa. We will be following the progress of the project
with great interest."

“We are excited to collaborate with SRTS Geneva and SRC in developing a whole
blood pathogen inactivation system that can be sustainable in lesser developed
regions which may not have the infrastructure to support complex devices or
have access to controlled temperature storage. By leveraging our experience
using the S-303 pathogen inactivation technology in red cell components, we
hope to be able to develop a system for whole blood that does not require
electricity to inactivate pathogens or leukocytes that may be present in whole
blood,” said William ‘Obi’ Greenman, Cerus’ president and chief executive
officer. “Maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa is commonly a function of
hemorrhagic complications from childbirth, and we believe that this technology
has the potential to play a meaningful role in improving blood safety and
availability in the region and, correspondingly, improve patient outcomes.”

ABOUT CERUS

Cerus Corporation is a biomedical products company focused in the field of
blood safety. 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. In
the United States, Cerus is seeking regulatory approval of the INTERCEPT Blood
System for plasma and platelets. 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 the intended collaborative activities of the parties
and the outcome of such collaborative activities, the potential efficacy,
development and clinical evaluation of an INTERCEPT system adapted for use
with whole blood and the potential impact that a pathogen inactivation system
for whole blood could have on blood safety and availability and patient
outcomes in the sub-Saharan region. 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 development and clinical evaluation
of the INTERCEPT system for whole blood and for red blood cells, the risk that
available funding may not be available to support whole blood-related
activities under the proposed collaboration, risks associated with dependence
on third-party potential collaborators to support whole blood-related
development activities 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, 2013, filed with the SEC on March 7,
2014. 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.

Contact:

Cerus Corporation
Lainie Corten, 925-288-6319
Sr Director, Global Marketing & Investor Relations
 
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