Bruker goes to Korea

Company will collaborate with Chungnam National University in Korea to develop reference site on glycomics methods for biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars

Lloyd Dunlap
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DAEJON, Korea—Bruker Corp. and the Graduate School ofAnalytical Science and Technology (GRAST) at Chungnam National University willcollaborate to advance the field of glycomics and its applications in therapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry in the Republic of Korea. Thiscollaboration adds to the growing number of partnerships and industry linkageprojects which Bruker has fostered with the scientific communities of AsiaPacific, the company notes.
Under their collaboration agreement, the GRAST team, led byProf. Hyun Joo An, and the Glycomics Applications Development Group at Bruker,led by Dr. Detlev Suckau, will jointly develop MALDI-TOF-based methodologiestargeting the analysis of glycans. MALDI-TOF refers to combining amatrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization source with a time-of-flight massanalyzer and is considered a soft ionization technique which allows theanalysis of biopolymers such as DNA, proteins, peptides and sugars, which tendto be fragile and fragment when ionized by more conventional methods. It issimilar in character to electrospray ionization (ESI) both in relative softnessand the ions produced.
The purpose of these studies will be to create a betterunderstanding of the function of glycans in biomolecules and their key role inmany biological processes—an undertaking of considerable complexity. Forexample, DNA and RNA have four building blocks each (the nucleosides ornucleotides). Lipids are divided into eight categories. Proteins have 20 (theamino acids), while saccharides have 32 types of sugar linkages. For proteinsand genes, building blocks can be attached only linearly; for saccharides, theycan be arranged in an array of branches, further increasing the degree ofcomplexity. 
The partners will target much of their efforts toward thedevelopment of specific methods and software applications that can be utilizedin the development and quality control of biosimilar pharmaceutical products,such as therapeutic antibodies. In conjunction with industrial partners inKorea and the Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI)—already a key Brukercollaborator—the partnership will act as an Asia Glycomics Reference Site (AGRS)and offer broader analytical support to the wider Asian glycomics community.
"My team at GRAST is delighted to be able to partner withBruker to develop our MALDI-TOF and other analytical approaches to advance thefield of glycomics in Korea," states An. "The potential we see, particularlyfor the biosimilar industry, indicates that glycan research will continue toincrease in importance, particularly as workflows develop to unravel itscomplexities."
"We are proud to announce this collaboration with Bruker,and will work closely together with them to develop cutting-edge methodologiesfor Glycomics research," adds Dr. Kwang Hwa Chung, dean of GRAST at ChungnamNational University.
"Development of meaningful and result-driven partnershipswith premier research teams in Asia Pacific has been a focus for Bruker inrecent years," notes Clive Seymour, Bruker Daltonics' Asia Pacific regionexecutive vice president. "Our technologies and workflows offer enormouspotential to advance the developing fields in glycomics and particularly in itsapplications in the biopharmaceutical area. Under the direction of Prof. An andher team at GRAST, we are confident the outcomes of this partnership will helpdrive a rapidly growing research field in Korea and beyond."
GRAST was jointly established by Chungnam NationalUniversity and KBSI in an effort to bring out the synergistic efforts in botheducation and research. GRAST is said to be the only graduate school in Koreastructured in this fashion. Its curriculum covers theory, principles andapplications of analytical technologies in the fields of nanoscience,bioscience, environmental science and many other fusion fields of study.

Lloyd Dunlap

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