DoD ponies up $15M to develop Terumo's blood-cleaning tech

Terumo is co-developing its Mirasol System with the Department of Defense.--Courtesy of Terumo

Terumo BCT, the blood-focused division of the Japanese med tech giant, has signed a deal with the U.S. Department of Defense to share costs in the development of a device that can treat donated blood used in emergency transfusions.

Under the agreement, Defense will spend up to $14.8 million to help Terumo get its Mirasol System through the FDA process, guaranteeing $3.5 million over the next three years with the option of contributing another $11.3 million to fund safety and efficacy studies. For its part, Terumo is on the line to spend up to $15.1 million on the cost-sharing project.

Together, the two plan to develop a device that uses riboflavin and ultraviolet light to treat whole blood and render disease-causing viruses less pathogenic, eventually shipping Mirasol out to deployed military forces for use in combat transfusions.

For Terumo, the partnership allows it to cost-effectively develop a life-saving tool whose benefits could stretch far beyond the battlefield, Vice President of Scientific and Clinical Affairs Raymond Goodrich said.

"The Mirasol system for whole blood provides the potential for safe blood products in environments where this is not possible or practical today," Goodrich said in a statement. "Its use could change the way in which blood is made available to people on a global basis."

Mirasol has been closely aligned with the U.S. government since its inception, and the latest agreement follows a $3.5 million grant awarded in 2012 to bankroll early trials of the device and about $10.6 million in federal grant and appropriations funding from 2009. If the Department of Defense exercises its full funding option, Mirasol's development will tap about $30 million in government cash.

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