CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Visterra, Inc., a biotechnology company that uses its proprietary technology platform to identify unique disease targets and design novel therapeutics, today announced that it has completed a $30 million Series B financing round. The proceeds will be used to advance the development of multiple product candidates from the company’s pipeline of novel monoclonal antibodies that target infectious diseases, including VIS410 for seasonal and pandemic influenza and VIS513 for dengue fever, into the clinic.
The Series B financing round was co-led by new Visterra investors, Merck Research Labs Venture Fund, Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd. and Temasek. Existing investors – Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures, Omega Funds and Alexandria Venture Investments – and a new investor, Cycad Group, also participated in this upsized financing.
“We are very pleased with the strong interest in this financing by investors with global healthcare industry experience, which validates Visterra’s remarkable progress in creating a pipeline of game-changing therapeutics that could significantly impact the lives of patients around the world,” said Brian J. G. Pereira, M.D., President and CEO of Visterra. “This new financing enables us to accelerate the achievement of our next stage of clinical development milestones, including moving our lead antibody for influenza, VIS410, into phase 2 clinical trials, as well as advancing our antibody for dengue fever, VIS513, into the clinic.”
Visterra’s proprietary technology is particularly well-suited to address infectious diseases, an area characterized by organisms with complex and evolving properties, including many different forms (polymorphism) and the potential to mutate over time. Visterra’s technology offers a new approach to address the challenges of infectious organisms and their ability to evade host immunological responses or resist treatment by current therapies. Visterra’s pipeline of novel antibodies is engineered to be effective in combating complex infectious diseases with growing global unmet medical needs.
“The proprietary technology that Visterra has developed offers a potentially breakthrough approach to help identify unique disease targets and design therapeutics that could have a significant impact on infectious diseases,” said Janelle R. Anderson, Ph.D., Managing Director of Merck Research Labs Venture Fund.
“Visterra has assembled the expertise, technology and vision to apply its innovative drug discovery and development platform to create therapeutics that can meet important unmet needs in infectious diseases, including global health needs outside of the U.S.,” said Lincoln Chee, M.D., Venture Partner of Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd.
In connection with this financing, Dr. Lincoln Chee will join the Board of Directors of Visterra, and Dr. Janelle R. Anderson will join as a Board observer.
Visterra is a biotechnology company that uses its proprietary Hierotope™ Platform to identify unique disease targets and design effective therapeutics. The company’s technology is powered by computational tools and techniques, called 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 fever 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.
About Merck Research Labs Venture Fund (“MRL Venture Fund”)
The MRL Venture Fund invests in early-stage biotechnology companies that utilize novel biology to develop therapeutics for unmet medical needs, which advances Merck's mission to discover, develop and provide innovative products that save and improve lives.
About Vertex Venture Holdings
Vertex Venture Holdings Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek, investing in emerging companies across Greater Asia and selectively in US and Europe. Since inception in 1988, Vertex has invested in more than 350 start-up companies, achieving substantial returns for investors, while helping over 150 portfolio companies realize their intrinsic value, through listings on global capital markets and acquisitions by industry leaders. Headquartered in Singapore, with regional offices in Beijing, Shanghai (China), Taipei (Taiwan) and Bangalore (India), Vertex seeks to leverage its network presence and combined experience to create value for both investors and portfolio companies.
Incorporated in 1974, Temasek is an investment company based in Singapore. Supported by 11 offices globally, Temasek owns a S$223 billion portfolio as of March 31, 2014, mainly in Singapore and Asia. Temasek's investment themes center on: Transforming Economies; Growing Middle Income Populations; Deepening Comparative Advantages; and Emerging Champions. Its portfolio covers a broad spectrum of industries: financial services; telecommunications, media and technology; transportation and industrials; life sciences, consumer and real estate; as well as energy and resources.
Total shareholder return for Temasek since its inception in 1974 was 16% compounded annually. Temasek has had an overall corporate credit rating of “Aaa” by Moody’s and “AAA” by Standard & Poor’s since its inaugural rating in 2004. For more information on Temasek, please visit www.temasek.com.sg.