Visterra, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company that uses its proprietary technology platform to identify unique disease targets and design novel therapeutics for infectious diseases, and the Drug Discovery & Development (D3) unit under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, today announced a collaboration to further the development of VIS513, Visterra’s broadly neutralizing antibody for the treatment of dengue fever.

VIS513, which was engineered using Visterra’s innovative and proprietary technology, is a humanized monoclonal antibody thatis designed to bind and potently neutralize all four serotypes of dengue virus.  The company’s preclinical studies of VIS513 in animal models have demonstrated a rapid reduction in viral titers after a single systemic administration, which supports its potential use as a single administration treatment for dengue virus infection.

The collaboration combines Visterra’s expertise in therapeutic antibodies for challenging infectious diseases with D3’s proficiency in bringing early stage discoveries into clinical development. D3 and Visterra will also work together with infectious disease experts at Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) to generate additional data necessary to initiate clinical trials of VIS513. Upon completion of these activities, D3 and Visterra will advance VIS513 through proof-of-concept clinical trials in humans, which will be conducted in Singapore. Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Visterra retains all rights to develop and commercialize VIS513 globally.

“This collaboration illustrates D3’s goal of bringing innovative early-stage research that addresses unmet medical needs in Singapore to proof-of-concept clinical trials in humans,” said Prof Alex Matter MD, Chief Executive Officer of D3 and A*STAR’s Experimental Therapeutics Centre (ETC).

Being optimistic about the collaboration, Prof Alex said that they are encouraged by VIS513’s preclinical data, which demonstrate its potential to broadly neutralize all four dengue virus serotypes, as there is currently no specific treatment for dengue, and prevention depends solely on limiting or eradicating mosquitoes that transmit the virus.

He added that A*STAR is looking forward to working closely with Visterra and advancing VIS513 into the clinic.

Brian J. G. Pereira, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Visterra said, “We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with D3, which enables us to utilize the exceptional capabilities, infrastructure and emerging infectious diseases expertise in Singapore to rapidly bring our promising antibody for dengue fever, VIS513, from preclinical to clinical development,”

He added, “Visterra’s has deep roots in Singapore because of our long-standing association with the Infectious Disease Interdisciplinary Group of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre, which has made important contributions by advancing our scientific understanding of dengue fever and the potential role of antibodies to combat the virus.”

There is currently 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 whom are children, and more than 20,000 of those affected die each year.

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