A sweet deal
Agilent Technologies and Chungnam National University collaborate on glycomics research education center
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Agilent Technologies Inc. and ChungnamNational University of Daejeon, South Korea, will establish an education centerto embark on new initiatives to develop advanced workflows for analyzingbiopharmaceuticals and biosimilars. The joint R&D center will providetraining in glycan analysis throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The collaboration is especially aimed to further research inglycomics, the study of complex sugars. The program, which is expected to lastat least three years and could continue indefinitely, is designed to developbiomarkers and new therapeutic antibodies to combat diseases such as cancer.
Building on an earlier collaboration, Agilent—a worldwideprovider of measurement technology for chemical analysis, life sciences,diagnostics, electronics and communications—and Chungnam National University'sGraduate School of Analytical Science and Technology (GRAST) will establish theAsia Glycomics Education Center to support collaborative university/industryeducation and cross-training. The university will develop and administertraining programs for various methods of glycan analysis, which will be madeavailable without charge to scientists and researchers endorsed by Agilent inSouth Korea and the South Asia-Pacific region.
The program will develop novel advanced workflows for theanalysis of biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars with a focus on glycan profilingand analysis using the Agilent HPLC-Chip/MS systems, according to Dr. RudolfGrimm, Agilent's director of science and technology and manager of collaborationsin the Asia-Pacific region.
"The majority of biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars areglycoproteins, and hence, glycan profiling is essential to show batch-to-batchreproducibility as well as proving that no antigenic glycan structures arepresent in those glycoprotein drugs like monoclonal antibodies orerythropoietins," he explains.
For biosimilars, glycan profiling and analysis areessential, as the profile needs to be very similar to the originator drugs,Grimm adds. As he explains, "another key purpose of the collaboration is todevelop hands-on training courses for glycan analysis not only for Koreanpharmaceutical customers, but also for customers in southeast Asia and otherparts of the world. A first training course has been delivered already withrepresentatives from all major Korean biopharma companies being present,including KFDA, who just recently acquired a first Agilent HPLC-Chip/MSsystem."
Chungnam University president Sang-Chul Jung says, "Since wefirst started collaborating with Agilent in 2011, our university has enjoyedaccess to the latest analytical and scientific technologies for research inglycomics. Our highly talented team at GRAST, led by Prof. Hyun-Joo An, hasmade a number of significant findings, which have been shared with the globalscientific community through papers and speaking engagements. This lives up toour university's motto—'Creativity, development and service to thecommunity'—and we are pleased to further this collaboration with Agilent."
Rod Minett, general manager of Agilent's Life Sciences groupin South Korea and the South Asia-Pacific region, adds, "in science, discoveryis a long and arduous road dependent on the best people, process andtechnology. For this collaboration with Chungnam National University, we aregoing into the next phase of our journey to develop and enhance the biosimilarsindustry, which will help scientists develop new treatments to cure or preventdiseases."
Grimm explains that collaborative research between Agilentand leading academic researchers worldwide serves as the company's means ofgiving back to communities in which it does business. At the Asia GlycomicsEducation Center, Agilent will install a state-of-the-art Agilent 6540Quadrupole Time-of-Flight with Chip/2D nanoHPLC system to develop novelapplications or analytical methods in the field of glycomics andglycoproteomics.
"Around the world, we have seen greater interest amongscientists and researchers in the area of glycomic research," says An, whoheads the Asia Glycomics Education Center. "Through our research, we are oftenpushing the frontiers of science and the capabilities of our analyticalinstruments. We are thrilled to continue this partnership with Agilent."
"This is an important next-step for both Agilent andChungnam National University as we continue to build talent and driveinnovations and discoveries in the field of glycomics using industry-leadinganalytical solutions," says Grimm. "Because of it, we hope to become a newimportant player in the biopharmaceutical/biosimilar business around the worldand increase our market share in this business field significantly."
He concludes, "we hope to establish novel, faster, moresensitive analytical workflows with higher resolution for biopharmaceuticals andbiosimilars, especially for glycan profiling and analysis around the world andto provide educational training courses for customers around the world. We wantAgilent to become a leading consultant for pharma companies that decide to gointo the biosimilar business."