CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.
"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."
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.
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, 845-635-9828