Singapore, 1 Jul 2010 - Research in infectious diseases carried out at the MIT SMART Centre in Singapore has led to the formation of start-up company Visterra Singapore, supported by 3 top US venture capital firms.
Visterra, Inc., Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre, and the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF) announced today the creation of Visterra Singapore Pte. Ltd. This new biotechnology company will apply Visterra's proprietary platform technology for the discovery and development of revolutionary new therapies, diagnostics and vaccines for challenging infectious diseases such as influenza and dengue fever.
Visterra, Inc. (formerly Parasol Therapeutics), based in Cambridge, MA and an MIT spin-off, has received US$6m in venture funding from Flagship Ventures, Lux Capital and Polaris Venture Partners, all based in the United States. The company focuses on technologies that can interrogate how pathogens interact with human cells, a critical first step in the disease process, to develop new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines. Visterra is a licensee to MIT patents arising from the laboratory of Professor Ram Sasisekharan, Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Biological Engineering and Health Sciences & Technology at MIT.
Visterra Singapore is the first spin-off of SMART and will benefit from the unique expertise and resources related to infectious diseases that are broadly present in Singapore and have been developed in the SMART Centre based on the ongoing research funding by NRF. Following the model of the relationship between Visterra, Inc. and MIT, Visterra Singapore intends to formalize a relationship with SMART and establish key advisory relationships with leading researchers and clinicians. Visterra Singapore is a local example of the type of organic, grassroots entrepreneurial activity in life sciences that MIT is well known for and that has grown to represent an important sector in the United States economy.
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