The mission of GlycoMimetics, Inc. ("GMI") is to develop novel small molecule therapeutics using a specialized platform technology based upon the roles that carbohydrates play in important biological processes. The company believes that carbohydrate mimics ("glycomimetic" compounds) represent an important new class of drugs. GMI is positioned to lead this emerging field. The company so far has identified three types of novel and proprietary compounds with potential therapeutic utility. One is a class of anti-inflammatory compounds which have been shown to reduce key measures of inflammation in several animal models; the second is a novel anti-infective which has been shown to reduce virulence of Pseudomonas; the third is a class of biologically active compounds with potential in the treatment or prevention of complications of diabetes or atherosclerosis.
GMI has proprietary compounds that inhibit binding of E-, P-, and L-selectin, a key early step in the inflammatory process leading to leukocyte adhesion and recruitment to inflamed tissue. Selectin binding has been shown to be involved in most, if not all, disease processes that involve inflammation. A potent pan-selectin inhibitor would have the potential to address many major market opportunities. GMI is currently exploring the potential of its lead pan-selectin inhibitor to treat vaso-occlusive crises of sickle cell disease. The company also plans to explore additional indications that present further opportunities, including myocardial infarction and pulmonary inflammation.
GMI has extensive data demonstrating the ability of its proprietary compounds to inhibit selectin binding, both in static assays and under conditions simulating blood flow. In addition, several compounds have been tested in animal models. These have been shown to limit inflammatory cell adhesion and migration and to affect other disease-related endpoints in animal models. A lead compound has recently been selected for this program, and additional testing is underway toward a goal of filing an IND and initiating human clinical trials. A pre-IND meeting with the FDA is expected in May 2007.
A second opportunity developed by GMI is to treat or prevent infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium responsible for increasing numbers of infections which are proving refractory to treatment with antibiotics. This is a critical unmet need in a number of patient populations. Cystic fibrosis patients are chronically colonized by Pseudomonas, and the infection is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in these patients. Pseudomonas is also difficult to treat in other patients, including those who develop pneumonia while on ventilators and those who suffer from burns or from urinary tract infections associated with long term catheterization. GMI has developed a proprietary lead compound (GMI-1051) that inhibits key proteins involved in Pseudomonas infection and virulence. Specifically, the compound inhibits bacterial adhesion and limits bacterial cytotoxicity. In pulmonary infections, data suggest that GMI-1051 may also restore ciliary beat which is inhibited by Pseudomonas, thus enhancing clearance. GMI's objective in this program is to develop a drug that would be used in conjunction with antibiotics against chronic infections which have failed to respond to antibiotic treatment.
GMI has also identified a third opportunity based upon E-selectin specific antagonists. The company is exploring this approach to developing drug candidates that could be used to treat or prevent complications of diabetes or atherosclerosis.
GMI was founded through the acquisition of assets and expertise of a predecessor company, GlycoTech. GlycoTech developed technology to identify and screen carbohydrate mimics initially through a collaboration with Ciba-Geigy (later Novartis), and then independently. In addition, GlycoTech's screening capabilities were contracted to Wyeth over a two year period. Assets acquired from GlycoTech include key intellectual property rights, to which GMI has added during its first two years of operation. The company currently owns or has rights to 15 issued U.S. patents as well as additional pending patent applications.
GlycoMimetics has raised a total of $25 million in two rounds of venture financing. The rounds were lead by New Enterprise Associates with participation from Alliance Technology Ventures, Anthem Capital, PTV Sciences, the Novartis Venture Fund, and the State of Maryland. GMI anticipates using this funding to bring its anti-inflammatory program into early stage clinical development. The company also intends to continue advancing its Pseudomonas program through late pre-clinical development, and to design and synthesize biologically active molecules against other targets.
The company's Chief Executive Officer is Rachel King, former CEO of Genetic Therapy, Inc., and former Senior Vice President of Novartis Corporation. GMI's Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President of Research is John Magnani, Ph.D., who founded and led GlycoTech and is a well-known and well-respected leader in the field of glycobiology. GMI's Vice President of Clinical Development is Helen Thackray, MD, FAAP. Dr. Thackray is an experienced clinical development executive who held the same position at BioSynexis Corporation.
Rachel King and John Magnani each hold a seat on The company's Board of Directors, which also includes: M. James Barrett, Ph.D. (Chair), General Partner, New Enterprise Associates; Michael Henos, General Partner, Alliance Technology Ventures; William Gust, Managing General Partner, Anthem Capital Management; Franklin Top, MD, Senior Vice President of MedImmune Ventures; and John J. Baldwin, Ph.D., President Vitae Pharmaceuticals and a 33-year veteran of Merck. – less–ZoomInfo