Agilent Technologies, University of Rouen and A*STAR’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute to Further Innovation in Biopharmaceuticals and Glycomics
<0> Agilent TechnologiesEric Endicott, +1 408-553-2005orAgency for Science, Technology and ResearchVithya Selvam, +65 6826 6291orUniversity of RouenVirginie Turquet, +33 2 35 14 60 32Director, Corporate Communications </0>
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), the Glyco-MEV laboratory at the University of Rouen, in France, and the Bioprocessing Technology Institute at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), in Singapore, have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together in order to develop tools to effectively analyze biologics and vaccines.
Biologics are molecules such as antibodies and other recombinant protein-based therapeutics. Used in combination with vaccines, they can prevent or treat a variety of serious medical conditions such as cancers, immune disorders and infectious diseases that affect millions of people annually. These therapeutic agents are typically produced by bioprocesses using living cells as factories for their production.
Unlike small molecule drugs, biologics produced by cells are typically more heterogeneous in structure, most notably in glycosylation, which is the modification of protein drugs by sugars (also known as glycans). Sugars are known to prolong the half-life of biologic drugs and thereby reduce the frequency and dosage of drugs given to human patients.
A*STAR’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute will join forces with the University of Rouen’s Glyco-MEV laboratory and Agilent to develop innovative analytical techniques to ensure that these biologics are safe and effective. BTI is currently working to develop methods of producing and analyzing these biologics in animal cells while Glyco-MEV laboratory specializes in the production of those molecules in plant systems.
This strategic partnership strengthens the collaboration between BTI and Glyco-MEV laboratory and is enhanced by Agilent’s technological expertise to develop new, sensitive and high-throughput methodologies that are particularly adapted to the analysis of biopharmaceuticals. In addition, the Glyco-MEV laboratory will be Agilent’s glycomics reference site in Europe, and BTI will be its glycomics reference site for Southeast Asia.
Professor Lam Kong Peng, executive director of BTI, said, “With increasing use of biologics to treat human diseases and with more biosimilars coming to market in the next few years, it is timely for BTI to develop novel technologies that would improve the characterization and analysis of protein-based drugs. This collaboration would enhance Singapore’s reputation as a world-class destination for biologics manufacturing and R&D.”
“This collaboration will enhance our international expertise with regards to the glycan analysis and engineering of biopharmaceuticals produced in plant and microalgae cells,” said Prof Patrice Lerouge, director of the Glyco-MEV laboratory. “We also hope that such a research initiative will facilitate exchanges of lab members and PhD students between Singapore and France.”
“This research initiative enables scientists to optimize glycan analytical workflows on the Agilent HPLC-Chip/MS system,” said Dr. Rudolf Grimm, Agilent’s director of science and technology and manager of collaborations in the Asia-Pacific region. “We look forward to working with these leading organizations to drive discovery in this important field.”
Research projects in the laboratory Glycobiologie et Matrice Extracellulaire Végétale aim at elucidating the function and biosynthesis of glycoproteins and polysaccharides in higher plants and microalgae. We focus mainly, through reverse genetic approaches, on the function of polysaccharides in relation with plant development and morphogenesis. Another aspect of our research activity deals with defense mechanisms occurring specifically in root border cells with the ultimate goal of identifying novel molecules able to stimulate the plant immunity against pathogens. Finally, we also investigate the protein glycosylation processing in higher plants and microalgae by studying N-glycan pathways, glycosyltransferase activities and their Golgi localisation. Since plants and microalgae synthesize N-glycans that are immunogenic in humans, the aim of this topic is to engineer the endogenous processing to produce in glycoproteins carrying human-compatible glycosylation patterns.
For more information about the University of Rouen and the Glyco-MEV laboratory, please visit their respective webpages: and .
The University of Rouen was founded in 1960 and is a national pluridisciplinary university. It is organized into six faculties, four institutes and one school for education. The university offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees to about 25,000 students, including 3,000 international students from more than 45 countries. The university has almost 2,300 doctoral students, of which 1,350 in health and pharmacy and 400 in science and technology. The University of Rouen is active in wide range of research areas, which provides the foundation for interdisciplinary activity. The university’s strengths range across the science and technology, medicine, social sciences and humanities. Its research covers fields as diverse as materials, physics, chemistry, biomedical research, agronomy, environmental science, international law, economics, management and education. The University of Rouen has more than 2,800 staff, including 1,400 faculty members who work within 40 research laboratories and eight federations for research.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore’s lead public-sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy. In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalyzing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.
A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis and vicinity.
These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.
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Bioprocessing Technology Institute is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Established in 1990 as the Bioprocessing Technology Unit, it was renamed the Bioprocessing Technology Institute in 2003. The research institute’s mission is to develop manpower capabilities and establish cutting-edge technologies relevant to the bioprocessing community. Key research areas include expression engineering, animal cell technology, stem cell research, microbial fermentation, downstream purification and analytics.
For more information about BTI, visit
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world’s premier measurement company and a technology leader in chemical analysis, life sciences, diagnostics, electronics and communications. The company’s 20,500 employees serve customers in more than 100 countries. Agilent had revenues of $6.9 billion in fiscal 2012. Information about Agilent is available at .