16 More Innovation through Cooperation More Innovation through Cooperation – the glyconet Berlin Brandenburg In the last 15 years, the Berlin-Brandenburg region has emerged as a global center of glyco-sciences and its multiple applications. In 2016, the glyconet Berlin Brandenburg was established as a platform to connect various players from academia and industry and to join forces in this fascinating and promising area of research and development. Several companies, universities and research institutes in Berlin and Brandenburg are committed to glycobiotechnology research and its applications. The glyconet BB provides a forum to enable exchange on current R&D activities and to facilitate more intense collaboration and synergies. With a growing number of members, glyconet BB is a network that supports research and development in the innovative fields of glycobiotechnology, synthetic chemistry, analytical sciences and medical chemistry for use in medicine and life sciences. The main goal is to strengthen and visualize regional skills and education in this area of life sciences. Glyconet BB members have a broad range of expertise, from glycoanalytics and glycoengineering, proteomics, cell biology, immunology, biopharmaceuticals and vaccine development, to bioinformatics and polymer sciences. With respect to education, glyconet BB set up a “Winter School” which is planned as a regular annual event. The first of these one-week training courses for junior scientists took place early 2017 and provided insights into the theory and practice of glycosciences technologies. Another initiative targets the establishment of a new international congress format, also planned as a regular event. The first congress on “New and Emerging Technologies” is scheduled for September 2017 in Potsdam. As an interdisciplinary networking event, the conference provides a platform for international scientific exchange and showcases the newest developments in glycobiotechnology, biochemistry, molecular biology, biofunctional materials, antibody technologies, synthetic biology and related areas. Further activities focus on joint applications and implementation of resulting research projects. To improve the network’s reach glyconet BB permanently seeks out for cooperation partners on regional, national and international level.
Perspectives/Outlook 17 Sweet Perspectives – Paving the Way for Translating the Latest Glycosciences into Targeted Medicines and Other Applications Compared to genomics or proteomics, glycomics is still in an early stage. This is mainly due to the lack of tools to explore the complex structures of glycans and their features. Players in Berlin and Brandenburg are committed to increasing the knowledge in glycosciences and to accelerating the development of its numerous applications. The region is well-positioned to shape future markets. Automated solid-supported oligosaccharide synthesis, as developed at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and marketed by its spin-off GlycoUniverse GmbH & Co KGaA, has proven to be a most valuable tool and will advance glycobiotechnology in virtually all fields of applications – from research to the development of diagnostics, biopharmaceuticals or vaccines. The analysis of the complex structures of glycans still remains a challenge. Players in Berlin and Brandenburg use and will further integrate state-of-the-art technologies to advance improved glycoanalytics. Berlin-Brandenburg has definite strengths in the development of biologics, biosimilars and vaccines. The latest glycoengineering technologies will be applied to generate glyco-optimized drugs and vaccines by rational design. Biosimilars are currently subject to a highly competitive market. Therefore, biobetter versions might be useful to outpace competitors as well as the reference product. A biobetter may be characterized by optimized glycosylation but it could also be reflected by a different formulation, e.g. the development of a subcutaneously administered drug instead of an intravenous one. While presently recombinantly produced antibodies represent the majority of biopharmaceuticals, future progress will also include the development of other glycosylated proteins as substitutes for diseaserelated deficiencies. Another trend features enzyme replacement therapy which replaces an enzyme that is deficient or absent in patients. Glycan-based in vitro-diagnostics represent another future market for glycobiotechnology applications. So far, carbohydrate-based microarrays are widely used for research purposes. However, no in vitro-diagnostics of this kind are yet available. Regional players like Scienion AG, together with MicroDiscovery GmbH, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, are well-positioned to conquer this market and to enable improved diagnostics and personalized medicine approaches. The potential of glycobiotechnology applications goes far beyond: glycosciences is entering numerous other disciplines to exploit the unique advantages of combined knowledge. Application examples include polymer sciences, nutrition, agriculture, material sciences, renewable energies and many more. The Berlin-Brandenburg region with its density of universities, research institutions and companies with a life science focus provides an optimal environment to transform glycosciences from a field dominated by specialists towards an integrated discipline. “Berlin and Brandenburg recognized the potential of glycosciences and its various applications very early and have, since the early 2000s, continuously supported the regional expansion of this promising field to become a leading European glycobiotechnology center of excellence. Regional scientists have gained international recognition for their groundbreaking work and meanwhile research results have been transferred to successful applications. With respect to a well-filled product pipeline, I am sure that we will see an increasing number of innovations made in Berlin and Brandenburg. Definitely, the future will be sweet!” Günter Peine Cluster Healthcare Industries Berlin-Brandenburg HealthCapital, Section Manager Biotech I Pharma