Glycoform Ltd. aims to leverage the pioneering glyco-chemistry research of its Oxford University founders to develop targeted drug delivery systems and to improve the safety and efficacy of protein therapeutics, including monoclonal antibodies, by taking advantage of the way specific oligosaccharides, or sugar motifs, can affect the properties of the proteins they decorate.
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New technologies to characterize and manipulate carbohydrate chemistries and the glycosylation of proteins are spawning viable business models that address what scientists have long known: the sugar coating of proteins and cells is not decorative.
Glycart Biotechnology is a Zurich-based start-up that aims to generate antibodies with improved glycosylation characteristics to increase therapeutic potency. The firm's GlycoMAb technology can be applied to customers own cellular production systems to generate more effective versions of existing or experimental antibody therapeutics.
The EMEA's recommended approval of Novartis' generic growth hormone Omnitrop may pave the way for further biogeneric approvals in Europe. But high entry costs and questionable demand mean straight copies of biologics may not prove the most threatening to branded players/the most valuable market. The real battle will likely be around improved biologics: longer-lasting, safer and more efficacious versions. This widens the playing field, but places branded players with the advantage-for now.