Pharma

Baxter Ventures, other investors pump $4.9M into cancer/immune disorder drug startup

Gliknik, which is testing cancer drugs and has developed a compound that it hopes will mimic the effects of IVIG, has just raised $4.9 million, some of it coming from Baxter Ventures.

Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a product with expanding applications in immune deficiencies, is made from antibodies extracted from blood donations. Gliknik, which is testing cancer drugs and has developed a compound that it hopes will mimic the effects of IVIG, has just raised $4.9 million, some of it coming from Baxter Ventures.

Name of Company: Gliknik Inc.

Industry: Biopharmaceuticals

City, State: Baltimore, Maryland

Solution/Product: Gliknik develops immunomodulation therapies for cancer and immune/inflammatory disorders. It has commercial rights to two clinical-stage cancer drugs being tried in patients with head and neck cancer and multiple myeloma and is also developing the compound GL-2045. Known as the stradometer platform, it’s designed to mimic the effects of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a blood-derived plasma protein replacement therapy used to maintain adequate antibody levels and prevent infection in autoimmune deficient patients. The difference is that it’s made by recombinant methods, rather than by using plasma from thousands of donors.

Money Raised: A $4.9 million series B, bringing its total to at least $15 million in equity.

How will it be used: The company says it will use the funding to progress toward clinical trials of the drug in autoimmune conditions in late 2013 – initially in patients with Myasthenia gravis and other neurological indications. It’s currently being contract manufactured. “This investment will help Gliknik advance its GL-2045 development program and determine whether recombinant peptides could potentially complement today’s plasma-derived IVIG therapies,” said Norbert Riedel, Baxter International’s corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer, in a statement.

Investors: Baxter Ventures led the round, and existing investors including LifeTech Developments Fund joined.

Management team: Gliknik was founded in 2007 by David S. Block, formerly of DuPont Merck, DuPont Pharmaceuticals and Celera Genomics. He’s also the founder of Ruxton Pharmaceuticals (now Psyadon Pharmaceuticals), a CNS drug firm. Founding scientist Dr. Scott Strome runs a translational immunology laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Market opportunity: Several preparations of IVIG are available in the U.S., including products from Baxter, CSL Behring, Bio Products Laborator and Grifols. The market will likely continue to expand as researchers explore the use of IVIG in Alzheimer’s and other neurological indications.