New alliance designed to enhance the lives of people living with sickle cell disease

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Inc. (SCDAA) and Hemanext Inc., a privately held medical technology company dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficacy and cost of red blood cell (RBC) transfusion therapy, are proud to announce a new partnership that will help SCDAA deliver on its mission and meet its goals. In 2020 Hemanext will collaborate with SCDAA on its educational programs, grassroots events and public-awareness campaigns.

Sickle cell disease (SCD) affects 100,000 individuals in the United States, disproportionately affecting African Americans with one in 500 African Americans suffering from the disease. People with SCD often require regular blood transfusions, particularly units of RBCs. Hemanext is committed to developing a novel RBC product to deliver improved and longer-lasting transfusions.

The genetic disease can cause unrelenting pain, stroke and acute chest syndrome (ACS), which is a collection of symptoms that include chest pain, cough, fever and other health concerns. Acute pain and vaso-occlusive crises (VOCs) are the top causes for hospitalizations and Emergency Department presentations, respectively, for sickle cell disease patients. Due to ACS, compromised immune systems and other medical problems, SCD patients are especially at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.

“During these very difficult times in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, we appreciate and look forward to partnering with Hemanext to improve the lives of people with sickle cell disease and their families,” said SCDAA President and CEO Beverley Francis-Gibson. “We believe it is critical to partner with stakeholder groups like Hemanext to help garner support for such critical areas as research, public health education and patient services.”

“While much has been accomplished on behalf of sickle cell disease patients, we understand that more work remains in order to fully serve people living with SCD. As we continue to develop a better red blood cell replacement therapy to improve transfusions, we also are eager to partner with SCDAA, the premier sickle cell organization,” said Alex Marichal, VP, Marketing, Hemanext. “We appreciate the opportunity to help SCDAA achieve its mission and enhance the lives of members of the sickle cell community.”

The blood types needed for sickle cell patients are rare with the potential of less than 1% of the blood supply being a match for a patient. Therefore, preserving the nation’s blood supply is critically important to SCD patients and society at large. The U.S. blood supply is extraordinarily sensitive to situational disruptions, from fewer people donating blood during the summer and December holiday seasons to unanticipated events, such as fears that the coronavirus could make donors vulnerable to infection.

“The volatility of the blood supply cannot be resolved solely at the donor level; it requires innovation at the processing and storage levels,” said Hemanext President and CEO Martin Cannon. “We are developing a technology that can buttress the blood supply so that it is better able to withstand external volatility while also delivering a higher-quality, more uniform blood product. Our vision of a world with fewer and better transfusions is aligned with the SCDAA’s goals. It is a privilege to partner with the association on behalf of people living with sickle cell disease.”

About SCD
SCD, an inherited blood disease, causes red blood cells to have a sickle shape. Because of their stiffness and unusual form, blood flow is blocked to different tissues, ultimately damaging them. These sickle-shaped red blood cells contain an abnormal type of hemoglobin, hemoglobin S; normal red blood cells have hemoglobin A. Hemoglobin is important because it helps carry oxygen throughout the body. There is currently no universal cure for SCD.

About SCDAA
SCDAA’s mission is: To advocate for people affected by sickle cell conditions and empower community- based organizations to maximize quality of life and raise public consciousness while advancing the search for a universal cure. Visit http://www.sicklecelldisease.org.

ABOUT HEMANEXT
Hemanext is a privately held medical technology company dedicated to improving the quality, safety, efficacy and cost of transfusion therapy. The company’s research and development efforts center on the study and future commercialization of hypoxically stored red blood cells (RBCs). HEMANEXT ONE®, our initial product offering, is a RBC replacement therapy designed to potentially improve the quality of life for chronic and high-volume transfusion patients while reducing costs. Visit Hemanext.com to learn more.

The Hemanext RBC Processing System has not been cleared or approved by any regulatory agency (including the FDA), or any notified body, and is not available for sale.

SCDAA Media Contact:
Jackie Burrell
Director of Communications
jburrell@sicklecelldisease.org

Hemanext Media Contact:
Alex Marichal
Vice President Marketing
Alex.Marichal@hemanext.com