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Macopharma and the German Red Cross Blood Service: A trusted partnership

Prof. Axel Seltsam, Head of Production and Head of R&D at the Springe Institute of the German Red Cross Blood Service NSTOB

Prof. Axel Seltsam, Head of Production and Head of R&D at the Springe Institute of the German Red Cross Blood Service NSTOB, discusses the development of THERAFLEX-UV Platelets with Macopharma.

You began work on the THERAFLEX-UV Platelets concept in 2006. What was your idea at the time?

AS: “Irradiation by UV-C was an established way of sterilising fluids. We wanted to transfer this technology to our business – to use this physical method of inactivating pathogens in blood products. The challenge was to ensure that each component would be penetrated by the UV-C. Agitating the mixture, so that each component reached the surface of the bag, proved crucial in achieving that.”

Why did you choose Macopharma for the co-development?

AS: “We have a history of joint projects in this field and a good working relationship that goes back a long time. For example, the THERAFLEX MB-Plasma system for inactivating pathogens in plasma was invented here and then further developed together with Macopharma, so it was quite logical for us to work together on another type of blood product.”

The THERAFLEX UV-Platelets procedure is quick – which will save blood banks both time and money – while its ease-of-use, which was a key design criterion, will avoid mistakes and process failures.”

What are the key factors in carrying out a successful clinical trial with patients?

AS: “The key is having a network of committed people with expertise in the different fields involved in the preparation and execution of a clinical trial. In particular, it is crucial to have clinicians on board who are really motivated to treat patients with a novel product and who are willing to act as champions because they are convinced that the new product is a good solution for their patients. We have such champions in our phase III trial, which is currently underway.”

Finally, what has been the initial reaction from clinicians to THERAFLEX-UV Platelets?

AS: “The clinicians are happy with it, particularly because there are no added chemicals to cause a potential adverse reaction in their patients. The blood services also feel that is better not to expose patients to potentially harmful chemicals. In addition, having fewer components and process steps makes the THERAFLEX UV-Platelets procedure quick – which will save blood banks both time and money – while its ease-of-use, which was a key design criterion, will avoid mistakes and process failures.”