Scientific Founder

Ram Sasisekharan
The Boston Globe has called Visterra founder Ram Sasisekharan "the man who solves medical problems." Widely recognized for his scientific credentials and groundbreaking research on complex polysaccharides, the FDA engaged him following deaths from contaminated batches of the blood thinner Heparin. Less than two months later, he led a team that determined the structure of a contaminant that was associated with these deaths and the biological mechanism by which it could induce an allergic-like response. Seminal papers on these studies were published in Nature Biotechnology and in the New England Journal of Medicine with the FDA leadership as co-authors.

In 2013, Dr. Sasisekharan conducted research, which was published in Cell, which demonstrated that some emerging strains of flu viruses are just a single mutation away from being able to effectively access cells in the upper airways of humans. This breakthrough research by Dr. Sasisekharan showed that if wild viruses accrue single-step evolutionary mutations, they may find it far easier to spread from infected to uninfected people, increasing the risk of a pandemic.

Our company was founded on the research into the fundamentals of epitope characterization by our scientific founder and member of our board of directors, Dr. Ram Sasisekharan, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and we began developing our Hierotope platform as a result of the findings from his research.

Dr. Sasisekharan founded Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which focuses on the development and commercialization of complex drugs, and Cerulean Pharma Inc., a company focused on nanoparticle drugs for oncology.

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