Funding will support research and development of stem cell-derived platelet technology platform
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 30, 2019 - Platelet BioGenesis, Inc. (PBG), the leader in stem cell-derived, on-demand human platelets (PLTs+TM) and genetically engineered platelet- based therapeutics, announced today that it has signed a $56 million contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), an agency of the US government's Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. PBG will use the funding to develop and establish donor- independent platelets as a medical countermeasure for treating victims of a nuclear or radiological event.
As part of national biodefense preparedness, BARDA has prioritized the development and procurement of therapies for trauma resulting from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense threats, including exposure to high doses of radiation. BARDA, with its extensive experience working with organizations focused on blood-related therapies, has evaluated PBG’s platform and determined that donor-independent platelets could be a critical medical countermeasure in case of a national threat.
“This is a significant milestone for PBG and a highly valuable and timely validation of the groundbreaking work of our scientific founder, Dr. Jonathon Thon, and the research, development and manufacturing teams at PBG, allowing us to use human induced pluripotent stem cells to manufacture platelets on-demand,” said Sam Rasty, Ph.D., President & CEO of Platelet BioGenesis. “With BARDA’s expertise in the development of blood-related therapies, their decision to award us this significant contract will further bolster the company’s resources to advance this technology into the clinic. The funding will not only help bring our unique donor- independent platelets to clinical development as a medical countermeasure but will also expedite the advancement of our broader donor-independent PLTs+TM platform.”
“In a radiological or nuclear emergency, impacted communities will face a significant blood product shortage,” explained BARDA Director Rick Bright, Ph.D. “We are exploring donor- independent platelet technology to increase surge capacity within the blood industry. Our nation must find innovative ways to make essential blood products available to save lives in any type of mass casualty incident.”
PBG’s research and development activities under the contract will specifically focus on the development of PLTs+TM for the treatment of thrombocytopenia induced by exposure to nuclear radiation. In addition to the funding, BARDA will provide a comprehensive, integrated portfolio approach through mentorship, the facilitation of future partnerships and the enablement of government collaborations with agencies such as the FDA.
About Platelet BioGenesis
Platelet BioGenesis (PBG) has created the only platform that can generate human platelets at scale. The stem cell-derived, on-demand platelets will be the first donor-independent source of platelets to address the chronic shortage worldwide. The company is also developing platelet- based therapeutics, a new treatment modality for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. PBG’s platform is patented and cGMP-compliant. The company was spun out of Harvard University and has received venture funding from investors and attained grant funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the National Qiming Venture Partners USA and other Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Defense. Learn more at plateletbiogenesis.com and follow us on Twitter @plateletbio.