This summer we had the chance to catch up with David Block, who is the President and CEO of Gliknik Inc. We asked him about his company; see his answers below. Look for more executive discussions in future issues.
Tell us about Gliknik:
Gliknik is a privately held biopharmaceutical company working to ease human suffering by creating new therapies for people living with cancer and immune disorders. At Gliknik, we're discovering a few more drug candidates than a company our size would normally. We’re operating on the cutting edge of immunology and running as fast and as hard as we can to advance our science and clinical candidates.
What is your strategy for growing the business?
Currently, we have a significant licensing agreement with Pfizer for GL-2045, the most advanced Gliknik stradomer™, which targets autoimmune diseases. Our collaboration with Pfizer has been mutually beneficial. We have other compounds that could be appropriate to enter a second corporate collaboration with the right pharmaceutical company, and we also plan to advance other compounds internally towards the clinic.
What stage of development are you in?
Our cancer therapeutic vaccine GL-0817, which is our most advanced candidate, is poised to enter a Phase II clinical trial to prevent recurrence of high-risk squamous cell cancer of the oral cavity in patients whose tumor has been removed by surgery and treated with chemotherapy and radiation.
What can you tell us about your fundraising efforts?
During the great recession that began in 2008, we raised 11 rounds of funding to stay afloat. Remember this was when people thought investing in real estate was a risky proposition and we were a new biotech company with whiteboard ideas. Fortunately, we had advocates who believed in us and stuck with us. It was a constant challenge for six or seven years, and now we are much more stable and can really focus on advancing our portfolio.
What strategic relationships, particularly at UM Baltimore, have been helpful to your company?
Proximity to the University is helpful. We purchase some of our reagents through BIORESCO. We also access a couple of the CORE facilities on campus. Both are helpful services that we’ve taken advantage of. We’ve sponsored academic collaborators at UMB through sponsored research, including with Scott E. Strome, M.D., our scientific founder. We have shared a translational award from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) with the UM Medical Center’s transplant team. We’ve also sponsored academic research with two collaborators in conjunction with the Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program. We’re fortunate to have many connections with the University.