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Visterra

Visterra

A company developing antibody-based biological medicines for kidney diseases and other chronic diseases. Visterra was acquired by Otsuka Pharmaceutical in 2018.

Visterra is a biotechnology company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and was founded in 2007 by Kevin Bitterman and Ram Sasisekharan. In mid-2018 Visterra was purchased by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. for $430 million.

Visterra initially worked on development of a line of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases using technology based on the interaction between viruses and human cells using computational tools. One product candidate is a human monoclonal antibody for seasonal and pandemic influenza. A human monoclonal antibody for dengue that neutralizes all four Dengue virus serotypes was also developed by Visterra. Their infectious disease programs are being advanced through partnerships.

In 2018 Visterra announced the initiation of a human phase 1, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, single ascending dose study to assess the safety of VIS649 in healthy subjects. VIS649 is an IgG2 monoclonal antibody designed with their Hierotope platform to target cytokine APRIL (A Proliferation Inducing Ligand) and neutralize activity as a potential treatment for IgA nephropathy. IgA nephropathy is a chronic, progressive autoimmune disease where IgA immune complexes form deposits in the kidneys causing kidney inflammation, hematuria, proteinuria and progressive damage to the kidney. As of 2018 there were no approved therapies for this disease.

Visterra’s Hierotope Platform is used to design and engineer antibodies to target specific epitopes, which are regions of the disease target made up of highly networked amino acids which they call hierotopes. The Hierotop Platform uses their Atomic Interaction Network (AIN) Analysis to characterise amino acids in the protein of a selected disease target to identify the most highly networked or interconnected. DropPair Technology is used to generate and screen millions of natively paired antibodies based on binding and affinity to a disease target and other key functions and characteristics. This allows selection of lead candidates.

Visterra is licensed from MIT and based on scientific work in Dr. Ram Sasisekharan’s laboratory.

Funding
Seed

On May 10, 2009 Visterra completed their seed funding round with $3.3 million in funding from Polaris partners, Lux Capital, and Flagship Pioneering.

Series A

On December 2, 2013 Visterra completed their series A funding round with $8.1 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omega Funds.

Series B

On October 2, 2014 Visterra completed their series B funding round with $30 million in funding from Temasek Holdings (lead investor), Vertex ventures, Polaris Partners, Omega Funds, Merck Research Laboratories, Flagship Pioneering, Cycad Group, CTI Life Science Fund, and Alexandria Venture.

Series C

On October 5, 2017 Visterra completed their series C founding round with $46.7 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MRL Ventures Fund, Vertex Venture Holdings, Polaris Partners, Flagship Pioneering, Omega Funds, Cycad Group, Alexandria Venture Investments, Serum Institute of India, CTI Life Sciences, and Allegheny Financial Group.

Timeline

October 5, 2017
Series C funding round

On October 5, 2017 Visterra completed their series C founding round with $46.7 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MRL Ventures Fund, Vertex Venture Holdings, Polaris Partners, Flagship Pioneering, Omega Funds, Cycad Group, Alexandria Venture Investments, Serum Institute of India, CTI Life Sciences, and Allegheny Financial Group.

October 5, 2017
Visterra raises a $46,700,000 series C round from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
October 2017
Visterra raises a $46,700,000 series C round from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cycad Group, Flagship Pioneering, MRL Ventures Fund, Omega Funds, Polaris Partners and Vertex Venture Holdings.
October 2, 2014
Series B funding round

On October 2, 2014 Visterra completed their series B funding round with $30 million in funding from Temasek Holdings (lead investor), Vertex ventures, Polaris Partners, Omega Funds, Merck Research Laboratories, Flagship Pioneering, Cycad Group, CTI Life Science Fund, and Alexandria Venture.

December 2, 2013
Series A funding round

On December 2, 2013 Visterra completed their series A funding round with $8.1 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omega Funds.

December 2013
Visterra raises a $34,200,000 series A round from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Flagship Pioneering, Lux Capital Management, Omega Funds and Polaris Partners.
November 9, 2012
Visterra raises a $26,099,699 series A round from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Flagship Pioneering, Lux Capital Management, Omega Funds and Polaris Partners.
May 10, 2009
Seed funding round

On May 10, 2009 Visterra completed their seed funding round with $3.3 million in funding from Polaris partners, Lux Capital, and Flagship Pioneering.

2007
Visterra was founded by Ram Sasisekharan.

Funding rounds

People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Alan Crane

Founder

Brian J. G. Pereira, MD

President, CEO

Chris Kiefer

Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

David Oldach, MD, FIDSA

Chief Medical Officer

Greg Babcock, PhD.

Vice President, Research

Greg Miller

Chief Business Officer

Jean L. Bender

Vice President, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology

Ling Wong

Board member

Ling Wong

Investor

Pooja Parameswaran

Employee

Ram Sasisekharan

Founder

Todd Curtis

Vice President, Finance and Controller

Zachary Shriver, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer

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