Lycera, a U-M spinoff biopharmaceutical company, plans to partner and collaborate with university faculty and students with a move to the North Campus Research Complex (NCRC). The company pioneers innovative approaches to the discovery and development of novel oral medicines for treating autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Lycera needs larger space to grow and expand, and will move into about 14,000 square feet at NCRC in fall 2011.
Gary D. Glick, Ph.D., founder and chief scientific officer for Lycera, said the company was attracted to NCRC because of the opportunity for collaboration with U-M faculty and entrepreneurs. Glick is the Werner E. Bachmann professor of chemistry in the College of Literature, Science & Arts and professor of biological chemistry at the Medical School.
“We are taking a novel, innovative approach to develop drugs that will have a significant impact in treating autoimmune diseases,” says Glick. “We look forward to working in a place where new ideas and insights are encouraged and can be translated into practice.”
The company is based on Glick’s research at U-M on immune system-modulating drug candidates with promise for treating diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease and graft versus host disease. These compounds target a novel therapeutic pathway and, in a range of animal models, demonstrate efficacy without the unwanted side effects associated with current treatments for those diseases.
“Creating public-private partnerships is an important goal for the NCRC,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, executive vice president for Medical Affairs for the University of Michigan and chief executive officer of the U-M Health System. “This deal illustrates how we are creating an environment for companies, faculty and staff that can provide mutually beneficial opportunities for close interaction – spurring water cooler conversations between both academic and industry professionals.”
“We know getting companies like Lycera here at NCRC will help us move toward creating a center of innovation — a place where collaboration spurs new ideas.”
In the partnership, Lycera and U-M have agreed to numerous collaborations. Plans call for Lycera to share equipment, including a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, providing a tremendous benefit to U-M faculty who would have to travel to central campus to find an NMR.
Lycera also will fund speakers of mutual interest four times a year in an NCRC scientific seminar series, continuing the company’s rich history of collaboration with outstanding scientists from everywhere. Lycera also will support multiple graduate student interns.
“Lycera is a perfect fit for our mission at NCRC,” says Steve Forrest, U-M’s vice president for research. “This is a company with proven success in drug development discoveries. We know having Lycera here at NCRC will boost both the opportunities for our faculty for collaboration, but also stimulate the economy of southeastern Michigan.”