By Karen Bernstein
BioWorld Staff

Glycomed Inc. said Thursday that it has signed a $12.6 million multiyear agreement tofund carbohydrate R&D at the Alberta Research Council.

Under the agreement, which is aimed at developing treatments for inflammatory andimmune diseases, Glycomed will provide $8.4 million in research support and $4.2 millionin milestone payments. In return, Glycomed has worldwide exclusive rights to discoveriesmade during the collaboration, as well as to more that 40 compounds currently inevaluation at the Edmonton-based ARC. The initial term of the agreement is 39 months.

Glycomed shares (NASDAQ:GLYC) rose $1.50 to $13 on Thursday.

The adhesion of white blood cells to the wall of the blood vessel is the key initialevent in the inflammatory process. Adhesion involves the binding of a protein, called alectin cell adhesion molecule (LECAM) or selectin, found on one cell’s surface, tospecific complex carbohydrates found on another cell.

The Alameda, Calif., company and the ARC plan to develop carbohydrate-based moleculesas inhibitors of the LECAM binding process.

Of three LECAMs that have been identified, two are found on endothelial cells and athird is found on lymphocytes. The endothelial LECAMs bind to carbohydrates on lymphocytesand the lymphocytic LECAM binds to carbohydrates on endothelial cells.

Gycomed doesn’t have any products in this area nearing the clinic. The companyplans to file an investigational new drug application this month for its GM6-001proteoglycanse inhibitor to treat and prevent corneal ulcers.

The company raised $53.6 million last year in an IPO and secondary offering.