lycoMira Therapeutics, Inc. announced the publication of work funded in part by a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).  The paper entitled, “Prevention of Anti-microbial Peptide LL-37-Induced Apoptosis and ATP Release in the Urinary Bladder by a Modified Glycosaminoglycan,” was published online by the peer reviewed open access journal PLOS ONE (Article available at

The research at GlycoMira led by Dr. Won Yong Lee and Dr. Justin Savage targets the development of an anti-inflammatory treatment for interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome (IC/PBS), a chronic disease that affects 3-8 million adult women in the US. The root cause of the disease is unknown, but women affected have poor quality of life and limited therapeutic options. In a mouse model of IC/PBS developed by collaborating University of Utah urologist Dr. Siam Oottamasathien, GlycoMira found excellent protection of the bladder by GlycoMira’s new drug GM-0111. In this preclinical model, the protective effects of the new drug were superior to those of currently used drugs in the clinic such as heparin, chondroitin sulfate, and Elmiron®. “This new technology would be a game-changer for patients suffering from this disease,” said Dr. Oottamasathien.

The GlycoMira team used a highly basic peptide called LL-37 to create a mouse model of interstitial cystitis. Elevated levels of LL-37 damage the urothelium, a barrier of cells in the bladder that protects the underlying tissues from the urine. When stimulated with LL-37, these protective cells also release increased amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that mediates bladder contraction and causes pain. Dr. Lee and his coworkers showed that GM-0111 prevents cell death and also reduces ATP release from these cells. The researchers suggest that instillation of this new drug into the bladder has strong potential as a new method for preventing and mitigating the pain and frequency of urination caused by IC/PBS.

GlycoMira Therapeutics Inc. is a startup biotechnology company operating in the University of Utah Research Park. The company is focused on developing novel anti-inflammatory drugs based on glycobiology for applications in oral and urological health. Since 2008, it has raised significant capital from grant awards from the National Institutes of Health and private investments. Recently, GlycoMira received a $1.5 M Phase II Small Business Initiative Research grant from the National Institutes of Health for developing a treatment for periodontal disease and gingivitis.