BALTIMORE, Oct. 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Glycocept, Inc. announced today that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has granted Glycocept worldwide, exclusive licensing rights to a UMB patent and technology to modify monoclonal antibodies to alter their effector functions. Eric J. Sundberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), and Co-Director, Division of Basic Science, Institute of Human Virology (IHV), and Beatriz Trastoy, Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow at Dr. Sundberg’s laboratory at the IHV/UMSOM are the patent inventors. Biopharmaceutical industry veteran Ronald P. Dudek, who most recently served as Vice President of Commercial Strategy at Juno Therapeutics, Inc., is Glycocept’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
The pharmaceutical industry’s currently used antibody-modifying technologies typically increase binding of an antibody to a cellular receptor that stimulates the killing of a cancer cell. The UMB patent’s novel technology – HyGly™ – works differently. It alters the glycosylation (i.e., the reaction in which a carbohydrate is attached to a hydroxyl or other functional group of another molecule) characteristics of the antibody to decrease binding to a cellular receptor that inhibits killing of a cancer cell. This approach is expected to increase the efficacy of therapeutic antibodies, and to be both compatible and synergistic with other established technologies.
Phil Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer, UM Ventures, Baltimore, said, “The novel UMB technology licensed to Glycocept represents a very exciting and potentially broadly applicable approach to enhancing the efficacy of therapeutic antibodies. With a proven biopharmaceutical industry leader in Ron Dudek, Glycocept is definitely an innovative company to watch.”
Mr. Dudek has 25 years of biotechnology business experience and eight years of immunology research experience. He was previously one of the first team members at immunotherapy company Juno Therapeutics, which raised a record $150 million Series A financing. Mr. Dudek is the past founder and president of Restoration Oncology, Inc., another immunotherapy company that is now integrated into Juno. He is also the co-founder of Plexera Biosciences, LLC, where he invented a novel small molecule drug discovery technology.
“I’m thrilled to help lead such an innovative start-up that’s dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of therapeutic antibodies and with a vision of transforming our industry,” said Mr. Dudek. “Glycocept’s novel technology has unique and broad applications that will enable strategic partnerships with other biopharmaceutical companies, as well as form the basis of our pipeline of proprietary therapeutic antibodies.”
Glycocept’s leadership team also consists of Dr. Sundberg in the role of Chief Scientific Officer and Dr. Trastoy as Scientific Advisor.
Glycocept plans to partner with biopharmaceutical companies to develop HyGly™ versions of antibodies currently in those companies’ pipelines, and will develop proprietary antibody drugs including “biobetter” versions of blockbuster antibody drugs whose patents are expiring. The company will also license related intellectual property to develop proprietary HyGly™ drugs.
About Glycocept, Inc.
Glycocept, Inc. is a UMB start-up company that has developed a novel technology, HyGly™, for modifying the binding of whole molecule antibodies to the inhibitory Fc receptor, FcgR2b. The technology takes a unique approach to modifying antibodies compared to other well-established approaches in use in the pharmaceutical industry today. Glycocept is headquartered in Baltimore.
About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets and more start-up ventures. Visit http://umventures.org/ to learn more.
Source:University of Maryland, Baltimore