After raising a bit more than $117 million from some blue chip backers like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vertex and Flagship, Waltham, MA-based Visterra has agreed to a $430 million buyout deal, joining Japan’s Otsuka as a subsidiary.
Visterra and its antibody platform — all about binding to epitopes — will now remain in operation under Otsuka, which joins a growing group of Japanese companies with a big presence in the Boston hub.
Just last fall Visterra CEO Brian Pereira topped up their C round and closed it with $46.7 million in venture cash — enough to steer their lead program through a Phase IIb while getting another therapy through Phase I. And right after the latest venture round, George Scangos’ new infectious disease startup Vir stepped up with a $1 billion-plus development deal for up to 5 new drugs.
The lead program is for VIS410, designed to fight influenza A in a way that centers on epitopes common across all strains of a virus. Targeting that immutable spot on the ever-changing flu virus with tech insights out of the lab of MIT’s Ram Sasisekharan could lead to a durable remedy for large numbers of patients.
Their C round last fall came after a failed attempt at an IPO, which was dropped well before the big wave of new offerings that hit earlier this year.
Otsuka President Tatsuo Higuchi noted:
I am highly gratified that Visterra’s exceptional antibody platform technology, promising pipeline and talented researchers will join up with Otsuka.
The best place to read Endpoints News? In your inbox.
Comprehensive daily news report for those who discover, develop, and market drugs. Join 32,400+ biopharma pros who read Endpoints News by email every day.Free Subscription