Lycera Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering innovative approaches to the discovery and development of novel oral medicines for treating autoimmune diseases. The company is targeting novel pathways to develop new classes of selective, oral immunomodulators for the treatment of patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease. Lycera's goal is to develop drug candidates with efficacy and safety profiles that change the treatment paradigm for patients with autoimmune diseases. Based on preclinical studies, the company's emerging drug candidates demonstrate improved oral efficacy and/or safety compared to the current standard-of-care antiproliferative and immunosuppressive agents.
Together, Lycera's world-class leadership and scientific teams and proprietary technology platforms firmly establish the company as an emerging leader in the immunology/inflammation field. Its core discovery research capabilities will help Lycera create an industry-leading oral autoimmune pipeline. Lycera believes it has two of the most promising oral small-molecule programs for treating autoimmune diseases: a bioenergetics program, focused on modulating energy producing and transducing pathways to selectively target and silence pathologically activated cells, and a program targeting the Th17 pathway through the inhibition of ROR-gamma. In March 2011, Lycera announced a significant research collaboration with Merck for its RORγt program, and achieved it first milestone in December 2011. In February 2013, the company expanded its relationship with Merck with a new collaboration agreement to discover, develop and commercialize small-molecule therapies.
Serious autoimmune diseases are a major and growing public health problem. In the United States, there are approximately 7.5 million cases of psoriasis , 400 thousand cases of multiple sclerosis , 1.3 million cases of rheumatoid arthritis  and one million cases of inflammatory bowel disease . Currently available biologic drugs are typically very costly and have been associated with significant risks, including opportunistic infections and death. Despite these limitations, they generate more than $13 billion in annual sales. There is a clear need for oral drugs that demonstrate the efficacy of biologics, but with improved safety and administration profiles.
- National Psoriasis Foundation.
- National MS Society.
- National Arthritis Data Workgroup.
- Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Volume 5, Issue 12, pages 1383-1384, December 2007.