Otsuka to Acquire Visterra for $430M, Adding to Its Pipeline and Platforms | Bio Tech

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to acquire Visterra for approximately $430 million cash, the companies said today, in a deal that expands the of Otsuka and aligns with its goal of enhancing its drug discovery and development .

Through the acquisition, Otsuka will inherit Visterra's Hierotope® platform, intended to design and engineer precision antibody-based therapies that specifically bind to, and modulate, disease targets not adequately addressed by current technologies. Hierotope uses novel computational and experimental technologies, particularly atomic interaction network (AIN) analysis, to both identify hierotopes—epitopes deemed critical to the structural and functional integrity of disease pathogens—then design and engineer treatments that target these epitopes.

The deal will also expand Otsuka's pipeline with Visterra's programs targeting infectious diseases, kidney diseases, cancer, and chronic pain. Otsuka said these therapeutic areas complement its own areas of focus—which are led by two “core” areas, the central nervous system and oncology, and include the cardiovascular system, gastroenterology, the respiratory system, infectious disease, ophthalmology, dermatology, allergies, and urology.  

Visterra's lead program, and its only clinical-phase program, is the infectious disease candidate VIS410 (hemagglutinin), a Phase II monoclonal antibody designed to treat hospitalized patients with influenza A.

Visterra is recruiting patients for a Phase II study (NCT03040141) assessing the combination of VIS410 with Tamiflu® (oseltamivir) in hospitalized adults with influenza A who require oxygen support, as of the most recent trial update posted April 18 on ClinicalTrials.gov.

In 2015, Visterra won a five-year, up-to-$204.5 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) toward the development of VIS410.

VIS410 anchors Visterra's infectious diseases portfolio, which includes preclinical candidates VIS513 for dengue fever, and VIS705 for severe Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection.

In October 2017, Visterra launched a potentially more-than-$1 billion collaboration with Vir Biotechnology to develop up to six antibodies to treat infectious diseases. Under that agreement, Vir has an option to join Visterra in developing and commercializing VIS410, while the companies agreed to advance three infectious disease antibodies developed with Hierotope, including antibodies against influenza, RSV, and fungal infections. Vir also has the right to launch two additional research programs to develop antibodies against pathogens of its choosing.

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