Thalassaemia International Federation and Hemanext® Inc. Announce New Strategic Alliance

Lexington, MA: The Thalassaemia International Federation (TIF), a worldwide organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to quality healthcare for every patient with thalassaemia and other hemoglobin disorders across the world, and Hemanext Inc., a privately held medical technology company dedicated to improving patients’ quality of life by delivering a better red blood cell (RBC) replacement therapy, today announced a new strategic alliance on behalf of people living with thalassaemia.

Hemanext and TIF are committed to helping elevate the standard of care for thalassaemia patients worldwide through education and research and development initiatives that will lead to important clinical advances. Through this new partnership, Hemanext will support TIF’s educational and advocacy activities in support of patients, caregivers, healthcare providers and policymakers worldwide.

More than 600,000 people worldwide have one of many types of thalassaemia, all of which are inherited blood disorders that are characterized by decreased production of hemoglobin, the protein found in RBCs that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body. The disease causes the destruction of red blood cells leading to anemia. As such, blood transfusions play a vital role in the treatment and management of thalassaemia and other hemoglobin disorders.

Hemanext is seeking to maximize the therapeutic value of transfusions and reduce financial burdens to health systems with its novel RBC replacement technology. Hemanext is developing a new hypoxic storage method, which the company and many researchers and clinicians believe might improve the quality of life for patients that require chronic and high-volume transfusions, including people with thalassaemia and other hemoglobin disorders. Optimizing transfusions is critically important at this time, as societies around the world attempt to preserve and expand the blood supply.

“Many efforts are being made to ensure the continuation of blood donations to avoid shortages, as very sadly this pandemic is keeping people from donating blood,” said Dr. Androulla Eleftheriou, TIF’s executive director. “We will be actively supporting the World Health Organization (WHO) World Blood Donor Day on June 14th. And TIF’s theme for 2020 is The dawning of a new era for thalassaemia: Time for a global effort to make novel therapies accessible and affordable to patients. TIF is pleased that Hemanext shares our goal to develop new treatments for hemoglobin disorders. We welcome Hemanext into our network of industry partners.”

“The fragility and inconsistency of the blood supply continues to be a concern. During this time, transfusion medicine continues to encourage blood donations and is committed to using blood in the safest and most efficacious way. However, new innovations are needed for the transfusion community,” said Hemanext President and CEO Martin Cannon. “Working with researchers in the U.S. and Europe, we are developing a technology that we think will deliver a higher-quality, more uniform red blood cell. We applaud TIF for its support of treatments in every country impacted by thalassaemia and other hemoglobin disorders.”

In many countries, medical complications and financial burdens pose significant concerns to thalassaemia patients, their families and national health systems. TIF is working with organizations around the world that share the Foundation’s dedication to seeking solutions to these challenges.

“Transfusion physicians worldwide and patients with hemoglobinopathies they serve would benefit from RBCs that are more durable than currently available cells,” said Dr. Michael Angastiniotis, a paediatrician and former Head of the Cyprus Thalassaemia Centre, and currently TIF’s Medical Advisor. “Based on preclinical data published by Hemanext and other researchers, hypoxic storage of RBCs may help advance transfusion medicine by reducing the amount and frequency of RBC units need to achieve desired therapeutic outcomes, thereby reducing patients’ risk of the dangerous condition of iron overload.”

Alex Marichal, VP of Marketing for Hemanext, added, “During the COVID-19 crisis, patients with thalassaemia and other hemoglobin disorders are even more vulnerable than they were before the pandemic spread around the world. We want to do our part to help them, and we appreciate the opportunity to work with TIF in support of the patients served by the Federation’s member organizations.”

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