Technology Applications

Glycobiology: The Opportunity

Carbohydrates are the most abundant biomaterials in the natural world and are present on or within every living organism. Carbohydrates play important roles in health or disease states by mediating or regulating key interactions and pathways. Decades of research show that specific carbohydrate structures help regulate normal function within the immune, cardiovascular, metabolic, olfactory and nutritional systems, as well as abnormal function as seen in cancer, autoimmunity, and infectious disease states. Accordingly, the carbohydrate molecule class holds a near limitless number of product development opportunities in both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical applications.

Blockbuster products have indeed been developed in which a carbohydrate molecule is the key active ingredient or is an enhancing adjunct to the active component (Table).

Drug (Indication) Carbohydrate Source Target Market Annual Market
Erythropoietin (Anti-Anemia) Engineered cell lines Oncology > $2 Bn
Enoxaparin (Anti-clotting) Porcine intestines Coagulation; Surgery ~ $6 Bn
Vaccines (Infectious Disease) Bacterial fermentation Pediatrics > $5 Bn
Acarbose (Diabetes) Bacterial fermentation Metabolic Disease ~ $1 Bn

Table. Demonstrated blockbuster carbohydrate-based therapeutics and vaccines. In all cases the carbohydrates are accessed through bioprocess methods.

Despite these amazing successes this field remains relatively untapped as a source of new products due in large part to the complexities around manufacturing carbohydrate material in a consistent, scalable and cost-effective manner. Quite simply, there is a lack of appropriate commercial access to the relevant carbohydrates.

The barrier to access to carbohydrate materials has attracted the attention of chemists, biochemists and molecular biologists, leading to the development of numerous methods for production—including isolation from natural sources and enzymatic synthesis. However, these two popular manufacturing routes present significant challenges around purity and scalability.

The increasing demand for defined carbohydrate material coupled with the absence of a reliable means for producing them creates a significant commercial opportunity for an enterprise that provides consistent, high purity and scalable synthetic carbohydrates.

While purification and enzymatic synthesis have their attributes, Ancora’s Synthesis Platform—which is based on an entirely chemical synthesis approach—is the only one to address three critical parameters that enable a viable manufacturing solution for product development: reproducibility, scale, and molecular diversity.

Ancora’s Synthesis Platform uniquely provides a commercially viable technology solution for synthetic carbohydrate-based material that previously did not exist. This technology disrupts the bioprocess status quo in the industry and provides routine access to defined, homogeneous carbohydrates. Ancora has focused its initial efforts toward the development of carbohydrate-based vaccines targeting major nosocomial and community pathogens using a rational antigen design approach. Pathogens of particularly high immediate interest are Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida, Enterococcus, and Moraxella catarrhalis.

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