CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visterra, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company that uses its proprietary technology platform to identify unique disease targets and design novel therapeutics for infectious diseases, today announced that new preclinical results for VIS410, Visterra’s novel monoclonal antibody in development for the treatment of seasonal and pandemic influenza, were published online August 17, 2015 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Tharakaraman et al., 2015, PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1502374112). In the paper titled “A Broadly Neutralizing Human Monoclonal Antibody is Effective Against H7N9,” Visterra scientists and scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Hong Kong, and Utah State University describe preclinical data demonstrating that VIS410 binds to a wide range of representative group 1 and group 2 influenza viruses, and protected mice challenged with the H3N2 and H7N9 virus. Additionally, the paper presents preclinical data that VIS410 demonstrated a synergistic effect with oseltamivir, an existing small molecule anti-viral drug. These data support the continued development of VIS410 by Visterra as a single administration treatment for seasonal and pandemic influenza A.
“Emerging strains of influenza represent a significant public health threat, including the recently-emerged H7N9 strains, which cause pneumonia with acute respiratory distress syndrome and has a high mortality rate. With the potential to address this important unmet medical need, we are very encouraged by these new data further demonstrating the effectiveness of VIS410, including a significant survival benefit, in an H7N9 animal model,” stated Zach Shriver, PhD, Vice President of Research at Visterra. “Visterra’s novel monoclonal antibody, VIS410, targets a unique, conserved epitope on influenza A, and we are developing it as a single administration for the treatment of seasonal and pandemic influenza. We recently initiated a placebo-controlled Phase 2 challenge trial of VIS410 in healthy subjects administered an influenza virus in advance of receiving either VIS410 or placebo. We anticipate data from this trial will be available later this year.”
VIS410 is a broad spectrum human monoclonal antibody designed and engineered to neutralize all strains of influenza A, including mutated strains and strains that have recently emerged. VIS410 is a direct acting anti-viral that inhibits hemagglutinin-mediated cell membrane fusion, thereby preventing viral replication. Visterra is developing VIS410 as a single administration treatment for hospitalized patients with influenza A infection, including seasonal and potential pandemic strains.
Influenza virus infection is one of the most common infectious diseases and can lead to severe illness and death. Influenza epidemics occur seasonally in most countries, resulting in about three to five million cases of severe illness and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide. Although the usual strains of influenza that circulate annually are of a significant public health concern, far more lethal influenza strains have emerged periodically, leading in some cases to pandemics. Recently, both H5N1 and H7N9 isolates have emerged in humans, causing severe disease with high mortality, although to this point only limited human-to-human transmission has been observed. Nonetheless, predicted mutations in both H5 and H7 strains have the potential to enhance human-to-human transmission and create pandemic potential. In addition, data that H7N9 strains are more readily transmitted from poultry to humans compared to other avian influenza viruses, and documentation of resistance of H7N9 to anti-viral drugs, have fueled increased concern.
Visterra is a biotechnology company that uses its proprietary Hierotope™ Platform to identify unique disease targets and design and engineer effective therapeutics. The company’s technology is powered by computational tools and techniques, the core of which is Atomic Interaction Network (AIN) analysis, which uniquely identifies an area, or epitope, on the target site that is fundamental to its structure and function. This ideal epitope, or hierotope, becomes the target against which the company designs a novel therapeutic to effectively and durably combat the disease. The company is currently focused on therapeutics for infectious diseases, and its lead product candidate, VIS410, is a broad spectrum human monoclonal antibody for the prevention and treatment of both seasonal and pandemic influenza. The company’s second product candidate, VIS513, is a human monoclonal antibody for the treatment of dengue that has been shown to broadly neutralize all four dengue virus serotypes. Visterra was founded based on scientific work developed in the laboratory of Dr. Ram Sasisekharan and licensed from MIT. For more information, please visit www.visterrainc.com.