Visterra bringing influenza immunotherapy into Phase 2 with $30M cash influx

Infectious diseases like dengue fever influenza of the seasonal and pandemic varieties are the top targets for Cambridge biotech Visterra, which has just raised a hefty Series B round – to the tune of $30 million – for its immunotherapies. The company plans to bring its influenza therapy into Phase 2 trial with the new cash […]

Infectious diseases like dengue fever influenza of the seasonal and pandemic varieties are the top targets for Cambridge biotech Visterra, which has just raised a hefty Series B round – to the tune of $30 million – for its immunotherapies.

The company plans to bring its influenza therapy into Phase 2 trial with the new cash infusion, and bring the dengue fever monoclonal antibody into the clinic.

The company’s uses its algorithmic Hierotope platform to identify disease targets – namely, the proteins involved in the disease process – and ultimately design therapies. It can identify and define amino acid clusters in proteins, called hierotopes, that elude detection by the immune system. But because they’re largely unchanging and present throughout the disease target, they’re pretty ideal to use as reference points for engineers to build therapeutics.

The financing was led by two new investors: Merck Research Labs Venture Fund and Singapore-based Vertex Venture Holdings. Also participating are existing investors Polaris Partners, Flagship Ventures, Omega Funds and Alexandria Venture Investments, as well as new investor Cycad Group.