BARDA expands collaboration with Cerus Corporation to evaluate the INTERCEPT Blood System against SARS-CoV-2

BARDA Response

BARDA has expanded a partnership with Cerus Corporation to evaluate the efficacy of the INTERCEPT® System against SARS-CoV-2, because access to safe blood supply is critical to our health care system. Whether COVID-19 can be transmitted through blood transfusions remains unknown, but BARDA has taken steps to mitigate any potential risk if it turns out the virus is active after a blood donation. That’s why, like we did in 2016 with Zika, BARDA is supporting further development of Cerus INTERCEPT Blood System. INTERCEPT Blood System is designed to reduce pathogens in red blood cells.

BARDA now will support evaluation of this INTERCEPT Blood System platform to inactivate SARS-COV-2, just in case it is needed to protect the blood supply. This award is another example of BARDA’s ongoing strategy to leverage platform technologies, previously invested in by BARDA during past responses. By leveraging prior investments in platform technologies, BARDA can accelerate the rapid delivery of COVID-19 medical countermeasures.

The INTERCEPT® System, approved for platelets and plasma, uses amotosalen - a well characterized photoactive compound that specifically targets DNA and RNA - and UVA illumination to irreversibly cross-link nucleic acids. In doing so, the INTERCEPT treatment blocks replication of many viruses, bacteria, and parasites, rendering them inactive. This system is approved for use in the United States for plasma and platelets. The system for red blood cells is still in development. BARDA funding will support the continued development.

This award is one component of BARDA’s rapidly expanding COVID-19 medical countermeasure portfolio; visit BARDA’s COVID-19 Portfolio to learn more.

About the Company: 
The following information is provided by Cerus Corporation and does not indicate endorsement by the federal government of the company or its products.

Cerus Corporation is dedicated solely to safeguarding the world’s blood supply and aims to become the preeminent global blood products company. Based in Concord, California, our employees are dedicated to deploying and supplying vital technologies and pathogen-protected blood components for blood centers, hospitals and ultimately patients who rely on safe blood. With the INTERCEPT Blood System, we are focused on protecting patients by delivering the full complement of reliable products and expertise for transfusion medicine. Cerus develops and markets the INTERCEPT Blood System and remains the only company in the blood transfusion space to earn both CE Mark and FDA approval for pathogen reduction of both platelet and plasma components. Cerus currently markets and sells the INTERCEPT Blood System 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.