Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) and the SunCoast Blood Bank announced that the first pathogen reduced platelet units have been produced in the continental US. This follows Cerus’ FDA approvals received for the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets and plasma in December 2014.

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“We believe that initiating the production of INTERCEPT platelet components is a significant milestone in improving blood safety. Providing our hospitals with pathogen reduced products is essential to reducing transfusion-transmitted infections, including sepsis,” said Scott Bush, chief executive officer of SCBB. “INTERCEPT platelets also present a potential opportunity for the hospitals we serve to streamline inventory and allow the release of platelets earlier for the needs of their patients by eliminating procedures such as gamma irradiation.”

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.

“Having pathogen reduced platelet components available in the US is the first step in helping our blood center customers transform the safety and availability of the blood supply,” commented William ‘Obi’ Greenman, Cerus’ president and chief executive officer. “We are proud to have collaborated with SunCoast in successfully implementing INTERCEPT, and we look forward to helping SunCoast provide pathogen reduced components to its Southwest Florida hospitals.”

SCBB collects over 45,000 units of blood products, including 6,000 units of platelets and over 5,500 plasma units per year, to support 12 hospitals and healthcare providers. (Original Source)

Shares of Cerus closed last Friday at $5.41 . CERS has a 1-year high of $7.03 and a 1-year low of $3.48. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $5.08 and its 200-day moving average is $5.02.

On the ratings front, Cerus has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on May 27, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Caroline Corner reiterated a Buy rating on CERS, with a price target of $7, which implies an upside of 29.4% from current levels. Separately, on May 6, MLV & Co.’s Thomas Yip reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $10.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Caroline Corner and Thomas Yip have a total average return of -10.9% and 5.0% respectively. Corner has a success rate of 36.8% and is ranked #3493 out of 3681 analysts, while Yip has a success rate of 60.0% and is ranked #1739.

Cerus Corp is a biomedical products company. It is engaged indeveloping andcommercializing the INTERCEPT Blood System to enhance blood safety.