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MONTREAL -- ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. has announced that its joint venture with the American Red Cross, Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technology Inc. (PRDT), has demonstrated that its proprietary Ligand technology can selectively bind and remove families of viruses from blood and blood products.
PRDT's pathogen reduction products are designed to assist blood transfusion services around the world in maintaining the safety of blood and blood-derived products by targeting prions and viruses. With more than 40 million red cell units transfused annually in the United States, Europe and Japan, this represents a vast market opportunity.
"This could be a significant advancement for the blood industry," stated Christopher Lamb, senior vice president, American Red Cross, Plasma Services. "This product would represent an important additional safety step to already rigorous blood handling procedures."
"PRDT's blood and blood product filters offer tremendous market opportunities. Blood safety is a concern for all blood transfusion services around the world," stated Pierre Laurin, president and CEO of ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.
Recent studies have shown that ligands chosen from PRDT's vast library have significantly reduced levels of parvovirus and flavivirus from plasma.
Parvovirus, a non-enveloped DNA virus relatively resistant to either heat or solvent treatments, can be transmitted through blood transfusions. Normally causing a mild febrile illness, parvovirus can, under certain circumstances, inhibit production of red blood cells, cause persistent anemia and result in miscarriage. Ligands chosen from PRDT's vast libraries under license from ProMetic have significantly reduced levels of both human and porcine parvovirus from plasma (greater than 4 log).
Flavivirus, also known as bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), has also been greatly reduced through the use of one of the lead ligands under development (greater than equal to 3 log). Flavivirus is a model system for both the human Hepatitis C virus and West Nile Virus.
"PRDT's Ligand technology targets hydrophobic pockets or 'canyons' in viruses. This method of binding has already demonstrated effectiveness in removal of families of viruses, such as parvoviruses, and preliminary data indicates that certain ligands may remove more than one class of viruses," stated Dr. David Hammond, PRDT's chief scientific officer. "If proven, this would enable one ligand to bind, and therefore, remove several viruses from blood and blood products in a single treatment."
"Our first product is aimed at filtration of donor blood supplies on-site at blood transfusion centers to reduce the potential risk of transmission of the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human form of mad cow disease," stated Peter Edwardson, PRDT's project director. "These new findings have significant implications since they indicate that we can add other filters, each capable of filtering out targeted pathogens in one single pass."
Source: Prometic Life Sciences, Inc.