This very brief summary is not meant to capture the totality of industry interest across the field but rather to highlight just a few of the existing investments in research, development, and application of glycoscience. Mention of specific companies is made solely for illustrative purposes and reflects information obtained during the committee’s data gathering or from committee members’ knowledge of the field. Such mention does not in any way imply committee, NRC, or study sponsor endorsement of any commercial product or service.2

Companies with interests in therapeutic glycoproteins include Amgen (e.g., erythropoietin) and Genentech (e.g., antibodies and the antiinfluenza drug Tamiflu, originally involving Gilead Sciences). Genzyme’s drug Cerezyme, approved in 1994, provides enzyme replacement for the treatment of Type 1 Gaucher disease and uses carbohydrate targeting. Other companies such as GlaxoSmithKline (manufacturer of the antiinfluenza drug Relenza, originally developed in part with Biota Holdings), Baxter (with its drug heparin), and Wyeth (now Pfizer, for glycoconjugate vaccines) have major programs in glycoscience or aspects of glycoscience. GlycoFi, established in 2000 to develop yeast-based production systems for protein-based drugs, was acquired by Merck in 2006. Novo Nordisk conducts clinical trials for the hemophilia treatment GlycoPEGylated factor IX, which contains polyethylene glycol groups linked to glycan chains through carbohydrate engineering to prolong the pharmacokinetics. Smaller companies active in aspects of glycoscience include GlycoMimetics, Inc. (focused on compounds that target cellular adhesion molecules such as selectins); ProtAffin (development of glycan-binding pharmaceuticals); GlycoMira Therapeutics (development of heparin derivatives); Sialix, Inc. (focused on pathological effects and a nonhuman sialic acid); Momenta (heparin and heparan sulfate); Biomarin (carbohydrate-based targeting for enzyme replacement therapy); Hyalose (tissue engineering and therapeutics based on hyaluronic acid), Zacharon (therapeutics and diagnostics for rare storage diseases); Ancora (carbohydrate-based vaccines and custom synthesis); and Selexys Pharmaceuticals (antibodies to P-selectin and its ligand). International companies include Dextra (synthetic oligosaccharides) and Seikagaku (oligosaccharides and enzymes). Companies in the energy industry, including large corporations such as BP and ExxonMobil, are interested in cellulose-based biofuels, an area that will rely on glycoscience as it develops.


2Several members of the committee are associated with companies or have received funding from companies identified above, including Genentech, Inc. (Bertozzi; Lowe); GlaxoSmithKline (Bertozzi); GlycoMimetics, Inc. (Bertozzi); and Sialix, Inc. (Varki).

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