Platelets are the ‘bandaids’ of the bloodstream. They are the cells in your blood that stop you from bleeding and transfusions save the lives of millions every year. However, platelets can only be stored for 5-7.5 days because of bacterial contamination issues. To manage this, blood centers typically don’t keep more than a 1.5 days of platelet in inventory. The risk of depletion and collection challenges eliminate 24% of the stock. This shortfall is exacerbated during emergencies when platelets are most needed.
The solution is scalable production of pluripotent stem cell-derived (donor-independent) human platelets. With B-BIC’s support, Jonathan and the Platelet Biogenesis team engaged a contract design group (should we name them?) to help them scale their ability to produce platelets using a microfluidic bioreactor. They also gathered input from blood bankers about platelet unmet needs and pricing data from CMS to refine their business plan, which helped them secure a Direct to Phase II SBIR award. Since exiting B-BIC, they have moved into their own space and started hiring the staff needed to continue their scaling work and initiate animal trials.