University of Maryland, Baltimore Startup GlycoMantra Awarded $3.7 Million Small Business Innovation Research Phase II Grant
Monday, December 11, 2023
The grant will support development of their pipeline of therapeutics for treating metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, MASH liver fibrosis, and type 2 diabetes
BALTIMORE, Maryland, December 11, 2023 – GlycoMantra, a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) startup company developing therapeutics for unmet medical needs in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), MASH liver fibrosis, and type 2 diabetes (T2D), was recently awarded a two-year, $3.7 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, to advance their therapeutic pipeline.
Currently, there are no United States Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs for mCRPC patients who develop a resistance to second-line hormonal therapies, or for the treatment of liver fibrosis or lung fibrosis. GlycoMantra is working to develop a therapeutic that will halt or reverse these diseases. The Phase II SBIR award will support the Company’s development of mammalian cell lines, a master cell bank (MCB), and the cGLP manufacturing for this drug.
GlycoMantra’s novel, high-affinity carbohydrate-based drug is designed to counteract abnormal cell interactions by targeting galectin-3 (Gal3), a protein which is involved in many diseases associated with chronic inflammation. The drug will be administered intravenously to mCRPC patients, subcutaneously to MASH and T2D patients, or intranasally to lung fibrosis patients.
“In normal cell function, the carbohydrates and proteins covering animal cell surfaces mediate interactions between two cells or between the cell and the extra-cellular matrix components. However, abnormal protein-carbohydrate interactions and associated cell signaling can lead to many diseases such as cancer, fibrosis, and diabetes,” said Hafiz Ahmed, PhD, founder, president, and chief executive officer of GlycoMantra. “We are hopeful that by targeting Gal3, our therapeutics will provide patients with better outcomes.”
The Company’s therapeutic pipeline is based on technology licensed from UMB. The technology was developed by Dr. Ahmed while he was on faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) as well as Gerardo R. Vasta, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at UMSOM, and three other inventors. The Company’s ongoing collaborations with faculty from the University of Maryland Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, and work with UMB’s Office of Technology Transfer are helping advance their therapeutic pipeline.
Recently, Darryl Carter, MD, a venture advisor at UMB, was appointed to the GlycoMantra board of directors.
"Dr. Ahmed is a consummate scientist-entrepreneur, and I have been impressed with his vision and diligence to building GlycoMantra over the years. It is my pleasure and honor to join GlycoMantra's Board of Directors,” said Dr. Carter.
Phil Robilotto, DO, MBA, associate vice president of UMB's Office of Technology Transfer and director of UM Ventures, Baltimore, said, “Dr. Ahmed has successfully implemented both short and long-term strategic research and development programs focused on cancer and metabolic disease. I’m very excited to see Dr. Ahmed and Glycomantra’s hard work and dedication being rewarded through this grant. This SBIR award will allow him and his team to bring their therapeutic one step closer to patients.”
GlycoMantra is a biologics company developing transformative therapies with glycobiology. Particularly, the company is developing novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), MASH liver fibrosis, and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Animal cell surfaces are covered with carbohydrates and proteins. Normally these components mediate interactions between two cells or between the cell and the extra-cellular matrix components. However, abnormal protein-carbohydrate interactions and associated cell signaling can lead to many diseases such as cancer, fibrosis, and diabetes. The company’s goal is to develop high affinity carbohydrate-based drugs that counteract these abnormal interactions. The company portfolio including its drug pipeline can be found at https://www.glycomantra.com/
About the University of Maryland, Baltimore and UM Ventures, Baltimore
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is commercializing breakthrough therapies, diagnostics and devices, fueling the creation of innovative start-up companies, and attracting industry leaders and entrepreneurs to its thriving campus. Founded in 1807 as the first public medical school in the nation, the University is a fast-growing biomedical research center with nationally ranked professional schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, an interdisciplinary graduate school as well as a 14 acre bio-medical research park. www.umaryland.edu
UM Ventures, Baltimore commercializes UMB's breakthrough therapies, diagnostics and devices, fuels the creation of innovative start-up companies, and attracts industry leaders and entrepreneurs to the University's thriving downtown campus. A wide portfolio of technologies is available for licensing at www.umventures.org
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