Cerus will spin off its immunotherapy business

Biopharmaceutical company Cerus has said it will spin off the assets of its immunotherapy business to an independent company, to focus on its core blood safety business. The spin-off is to be financed by a group of leading venture capital firms, and Cerus will no longer fund the operations of the immunotherapy business.

Cerus is eligible to receive future cash milestone payments of about $90 million from the newly-formed company, in which it will have a 15.5 per cent stake. It may also receive up to an additional $1.5 million of equity in the new company in cash.

As part of the deal, executives David Cook and Thomas Dubensky have joined the new company as executive chief and chief scientific officer, respectively. Both were part of Cerus''s executive management team.

Cerus is now solely focused on commercialising its blood safety enhancement product for plasma, the Intercept Blood System.