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 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."