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Canadian Glycomics Network - GlycoNet

$43.6 million for 2014-24
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Canadian Glycomics Network

Headquarters
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Scientific director
Warren Wakarchuk Warren Wakarchuk

Executive Director
Elizabeth Nanak Elizabeth Nanak

Board chair
Karimah Es Sabar Karimah Es Sabar

Turning carbohydrate research into health solutions


The opportunity

Carbohydrates play a pivotal role in virtually all biological processes, which makes them key to solving many health issues. Glycomics—the study of sugars in biological systems—has led to the commercialization of several carbohydrate-based drugs, including ones that fight influenza, blood clots, diabetes, seizures and migraines. Building on a half-century of glycomics research and a burgeoning biotech sector, Canada is ideally positioned to take advantage of this emerging golden age of glycomics. A national, multidisciplinary effort is now bringing researchers and health scientists together with industry, government and international partners to translate this opportunity into results that improve patient health and grow Canada’s biotech and pharma sectors.

How GlycoNet is seizing the opportunity

GlycoNet is a one-stop global destination focused on developing new carbohydrate-based drugs, vaccines and diagnostics, in collaboration with academic and industry organizations to address areas of unmet need through applied glycomics research. This national platform supports translational research, protection of intellectual property, novel drug development, company formation and training. The network includes over 170 researchers across Canada who focus on infectious diseases, oncology, neurodegenerative diseases, and chronic diseases. With over 278 partners, GlycoNet provides researchers with access to core services in carbohydrate synthesis, complex structure analysis and high-throughput screening of new drug candidates.

Among the results

  • GlycoNet has leveraged $27.3M partner contribution since 2015, which brings its total domestic investment in glycomics research to $53.8M. To date, 125 projects were funded. These projects focus on areas such as addressing federal action on antimicrobial resistance, treating heart diseases, Alzheimer’s, or gut inflammatory diseases, and developing technologies that can accelerate scientific breakthroughs to the clinic.
  • One of the GlycoNet projects gained international recognition with its application to make universal blood. The goal of this project is to use enzyme technology to convert donated blood to be compatible with all patients, regardless of the blood type of the donor or the recipient. This technology will allow blood transfusions from donors that would otherwise be mismatched, saving thousands of patients’ lives per year.
  • GlycoNet-funded research has led to the filing of 60 patent applications, 10 licensing deals, and to the creation of 5 biotechnology start-up companies that are commercializing products and services, while boosting Canadian bioeconomy and generating jobs.
    • PanTHERA CryoSolutions provides a much-needed improvement in the cryopreservation of stem cells or progenitor cells and complex tissue constructs.
    • 48Hour Discovery, which started as a provider of core services to GlycoNet, now has expanded in Canada and established two international subsidiaries to offer molecular discovery services for drug candidates and diagnostics.
    • ABOzymes Biomedical Inc. is developing a platform to make universal donor blood, making a world where blood type is no longer a constraint for those receiving a life-saving transfusion or organ transplant.
    • Carbaform Bioscience has developed technology to improve the efficacy and utility of therapeutic antibodies.
    • GlyCa BioSciences is developing a transformative liquid biopsy testing platform for prostate and other cancers.
  • Since 2015, GlycoNet is increasing Canada’s global impact in glycomics through international project collaborations, core services, as well as research and knowledge exchange. In 2021, GlycoNet’s international partnership with Taiwan and Australia has expanded to Japan, France, and the United States.
  • GlycoNet is cultivating the next generation of glycoscientists in life sciences and biotechnology through its strong training program that supports more than 500 trainees, including alumni. Furthermore, GlycoNet actively engages secondary teachers to share inquiry-based glycomics resources into high school curriculum. GlycoNet Investigators are also leading efforts to bringing cutting-edge experiments, instructive videos and lectures to rural and First Nations communities.

Connect with GlycoNet

 

News
March 24, 2020
January 23, 2020
December 12, 2019
November 22, 2019
August 16, 2019
Videos
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HQP launch careers through GlycoNet
February 5, 2019
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Partnering with GlycoNet companies to improve people's quality of life
September 17, 2018
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GlycoNet - Rare Genetic Diseases
January 24, 2018
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GlycoNet – Chronic diseases
November 30, 2017
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GlycoNet - Antimicrobials research
September 19, 2017
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The Secret Life of Carbohydrates
December 14, 2015
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The GlycoNet Story
June 1, 2015
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Jay Ingram - The Potential of Glycomics
May 4, 2015