Visterra Acquires Exclusive Patent License for Monoclonal Antibodies against Dengue Virus from MIT
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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 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."
"We are very pleased to license these promising dengue virus antibodies from MIT, and we are focused on rapidly developing a 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.
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.
For Visterra, Inc.
Kathryn Morris, 945-635-9828