Visterra closes Series A

Visterra, a developer of novel therapeutics to prevent and treat major infectious diseases, has secured $8.1 million in the final closing of its Series A financing round. This financing brings the total proceeds received to date from Series A to $34.2 million. Existing investors – Polaris Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures, Lux Capital, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omega Funds – participated in the financing, as well as members of management and employees.

PRESS RELEASE

Visterra, Inc., a developer of novel therapeutics to prevent and treat major infectious diseases, today announced that it has received $8.1 million in proceeds from an upsized and final closing of its Series A financing round. The company also announced that it has deepened its executive management team by appointing two industry veterans to newly created roles, which follows the recent appointment of Brian Pereira, M.D. as President and Chief Executive Officer of Visterra this past summer. David Arkowitz has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, and Greg Miller will serve as Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning.
This financing brings the total proceeds received to date from Series A to $34.2 million. Existing investors – Polaris Venture Partners, Flagship Ventures, Lux Capital, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omega Funds – participated in this upsized financing, as well as members of management and employees. Visterra will use the proceeds from this offering to advance its proprietary pipeline of novel antibodies that target infectious diseases, including initiating phase 1 clinical trials for VIS410, the company’s lead antibody for the prevention and treatment of seasonal and pandemic influenza.
“We greatly appreciate the continued commitment and support from our investors. This additional funding will enable us to accelerate Visterra’s growth to the next important stage of development. We are now prepared to move our lead antibody, VIS410, into clinical trials in 2014, as well as build an exciting pipeline of additional game-changing medicines using our proprietary network analysis technology,” said Brian J. G. Pereira, M.D., President and CEO of Visterra. “We are very pleased to welcome David Arkowitz and Greg Miller, two proven biotechnology leaders who bring critical skills to our team, to assist us in establishing a leading biotechnology company focused on innovative medicines for infectious diseases.”
David Arkowitz has more than two decades of finance and operations leadership experience in the healthcare, life sciences and biotechnology industries. Most recently, Mr. Arkowitz was at Mascoma Corporation, a bioconversion company, since 2011, where he served as Chief Financial Officer and General Manager, Mascoma Grain Tech. Prior to joining Mascoma, he was Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer of AMAG Pharmaceuticals, a commercial stage public biopharmaceutical company, from 2007 to 2011, where he had a broad range of operational and general management responsibilities. Prior to his tenure at AMAG, he served as Chief Financial Officer of Idenix Pharmaceuticals from 2003 to 2007 where he managed the company’s initial public offering. Previously, he spent more than thirteen years at Merck & Co. including as Vice President and Controller of the U.S. sales and marketing division and as Controller of the global research and development division. Mr. Arkowitz served on the board of directors of Aegerion Pharmaceuticals and ImpactRx. He has a B.A. in Mathematics from Brandeis University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University.
Greg Miller has more than a decade of experience as a business development leader and has established partnerships in the biopharmaceutical industry generating more than $100 million in upfront payments and over $1.5 billion in potential future milestones. Most recently, Mr. Miller served as Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at Concert Pharmaceuticals since 2010, where he secured numerous collaborations related to the company’s drug development platform, including transactions with Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, and Celgene Corporation. Prior to that, he was Senior Director of Business Development and Corporate Strategy at AMAG Pharmaceuticals from 2008 to 2010 where he led the efforts in establishing a multi-regional partnership with Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Mr. Miller began his pharmaceutical career at Genzyme Corporation in 2002, where he held various roles in business development, licensing, marketing, and reimbursement. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from Brandeis University, and both an M.B.A. and an M.P.H. from Boston University.
About Visterra
Visterra discovers and develops novel antibodies for the prevention and treatment of major infectious diseases. The company’s proprietary antibody engineering technology generates unique structural information that identifies novel target epitopes (sites recognized by antibodies) and guides the design of antibodies which specifically target these epitopes to effectively combat disease. The company’s lead antibody product candidate, VIS410, is a broad spectrum monoclonal antibody for the prevention and treatment of both seasonal and pandemic influenza. The company is building a proprietary pipeline of novel antibodies in infectious disease, and continuing to expand its disease area focus through strategic partnerships. Visterra was founded based on scientific work developed in the laboratory of Dr. Ram Sasisekharan and licensed from MIT. The company is currently backed by Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures, Lux Capital, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Omega Funds. For more information please visit www.visterrainc.com.

Visterra Acquires Exclusive Patent License for Monoclonal Antibodies against Dengue Virus from MIT
– Expands Company’s Therapeutic Pipeline for Infectious Diseases –
Cambridge, MA – December 2, 2013 – Visterra, Inc., a developer of novel antibody therapeutics to prevent and treat major infectious diseases, today announced that it has secured an exclusive patent license from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to a family of early-stage monoclonal antibodies that target dengue virus. These antibodies were developed by MIT in the laboratory of Dr. Ram Sasisekharan, a founder of Visterra, using novel protein engineering approaches. Visterra will apply its proprietary network analysis technology to develop a human monoclonal antibody product candidate capable of broadly neutralizing all four dengue virus serotypes.
“We are very pleased to license these promising dengue virus antibodies from MIT, and we are focused on rapidly developinga product candidate for this global and devastating infectious disease for which there is currently no preventive or therapeutic solution,” said Brian J. G. Pereira, M.D., President and CEO of Visterra. “We have achieved significant progress to date with VIS410, our novel monoclonal antibody for seasonal and pandemic flu, and the licensing of the dengue virus antibodies substantially enhances our infectious diseases pipeline.”
“Dengue fever is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide and there is a substantial epidemiological, social and economic burden associated with this disease,” said Duane J. Gubler, Sc.D., Professor, Emerging Infectious Diseases Program, Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School. “Dengue has been expanding into new geographical areas that previously did not experience the disease, including parts of the U.S. and the E.U. In the absence of any therapeutic options today, it is encouraging to observe Visterra’s commitment to address this critical global health issue.”
About Dengue Fever
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne viral infection found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. There are four distinct, but related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue. The virus infects cells of the human immune system, leading to symptoms that include high fever, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding. In severe cases, blood plasma leaks out of the circulatory system and collects in body cavities, which can be fatal. There is no specific treatment for dengue and prevention depends solely on effective vector control measures.
The global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically in recent decades. About half of the world’s population is at risk for dengue fever and a recent study estimates that approximately 390 million people are infected each year. The World Health Organization estimates that 500,000 people with severe dengue require hospitalization each year, a large proportion of who are children, and more than 20,000 of those affected die each year.
About Visterra
Visterra discovers and develops novel antibodies for the prevention and treatment of major infectious diseases. The company’s proprietary antibody engineering technology generates unique structural information that identifies novel target epitopes (sites recognized by antibodies) and guides the design of antibodies which specifically target these epitopes to effectively combat disease. The company’s lead antibody product candidate, VIS410, is a broad spectrum monoclonal antibody for the prevention and treatment of both seasonal and pandemic influenza. The company is building a proprietary pipeline of novel antibodies in infectious disease, and continuing to expand its disease area focus through strategic partnerships. Visterra was founded based on scientific work developed in the laboratory of Dr. Ram Sasisekharan and licensed from MIT. The company is currently backed by Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures, Lux Capital, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Omega Funds.

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