Baxter and Cerus Enter Agreement with Asian Partner for Commercialization of Intercept Blood System for Platelets
Agreement to Help Address the Need for a Safer Blood Supply in Asia
DEERFIELD, Ill., and CONCORD, Calif. (ots) - Subsidiaries of
Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX) and Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:
CERS) today announced that they have entered into a definitive
agreement with BioOne Corporation for commercialization of the
INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets in parts of Asia.
The INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets is designed to reduce the
risk of transfusion-transmitted diseases by inactivating certain
pathogens that may be present in donated platelets, such as bacteria,
HIV and the hepatitis C virus, as well as potential emerging and
migrating pathogens including West Nile Virus, SARS and malaria. The
technology is approved for use in Europe for platelets, with blood
centers in several European countries applying the INTERCEPT
technology to provide an additional layer of safety to their platelet
Under the terms of the agreement, BioOne, headquartered in Tokyo,
will market and distribute the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets
in Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and
Singapore, following their receipt of regulatory approval in each of
those countries. The agreement is subject to approval by the
shareholders of BioOne following completion of an independent
appraisal of the transaction in accordance with Japanese law.
"Patients remain at risk for transfusion-transmitted diseases despite
the introduction of blood donor screening and advanced testing
measures. This is evident through recent reports of patients
receiving the Hepatitis B virus, HIV as well as bacteria-related
sepsis through blood transfusions in certain parts of Asia," said Dr.
Akihiro Shimosaka, president and chief executive officer for BioOne.
"We welcome the opportunity to address this critical patient safety
need by partnering with Baxter and Cerus to offer a pathogen
inactivation system for platelets as a solution for a safer blood
supply in Asia."
More than one million platelet transfusions are performed annually in
the Asian territory covered by the agreement. Platelets support
blood clotting, which helps to prevent or stop bleeding, and are
usually transfused to patients undergoing chemotherapy, heart bypass
surgery and other major surgical procedures.
"Through this agreement, we are advancing toward our goal of global
availability of the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and helping
to further enhance the safety of the blood supply for patients
worldwide," said Claes Glassell, president and chief executive
officer, Cerus Corporation.
- Under the terms of the agreement, Baxter and Cerus each received an
up-front payment of $2.5 million. Each company will receive an
additional $7.5 million upon approval by BioOne shareholders, as well
as contingent milestone payments and royalties on future product
sales. In connection with this agreement, Cerus has also made an
approximate $1.2 million dollar equity investment in BioOne.
- BioOne was formed with the mission of improving the safety of blood
products in Asia. The founder, Dr. Akihiro Shimosaka, was formerly
head of licensing for Kirin Pharmaceuticals and was instrumental in
the formation and management of the highly successful Kirin-Amgen
joint venture, which developed and commercialized EPO and G-CSF in
Asia. BioOne is being funded by equity investments from major
Japanese venture capital firms and other corporations.
Cerus Corporation is collaborating with subsidiaries of Baxter
International Inc. on the INTERCEPT Blood System, designed to enhance
the safety of the world's blood supply by inactivating viruses,
bacteria, other pathogens and white blood cells. The INTERCEPT Blood
System is based on the company's Helinx technology for controlling
biological replication. The Concord, California-based company is
also pursuing a novel therapeutic vaccine platform to harness the
power of the immune system against cancer and infectious disease. In
collaboration with MedImmune, Inc., Cerus is developing a therapeutic
vaccine designed to target antigens expressed in breast, prostate and
colon cancer, as well as metastatic melanoma.
Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, assists
health-care professionals and their patients with the treatment of
complex medical conditions, including cancer, hemophilia, immune
disorders, kidney disease and trauma. The company applies its
expertise in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to
make a meaningful difference in patients´ lives.
Baxter and INTERCEPT are trademarks of Baxter International Inc.
Helinx is a trademark of Cerus Corporation
Statements in this news release regarding potential future payments
under the agreement and fulfillment of contractual commitments, as
well as statements concerning potential efficacy and safety of
products, potential regulatory approvals and product development and
commercialization are forward-looking statements that involve risks
and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from the
above forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors,
including the risks and uncertainties concerning the appraisal
procedure, BioOne shareholder approval and the limited resources of
BioOne and risks and uncertainties related to the timing and results
of clinical trials and other development activities, the
acceptability of any data by regulatory authorities, actions by
regulatory authorities at any stage of the development process,
manufacturing, market acceptance of any products, competitive
conditions and other factors discussed in each company's most recent
filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Cerus'
Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2004.
Media and Investor Relations:
Alexandra Santos, (925) 288-6156
Tanya Tyska, (847) 270-4918
Cindy Resman, (847) 948-2815
Mary Kay Ladone, (847) 948-3371