"The rapid evolution of glycomics as a natural extension of proteomics provides a better understanding of glycoproteins, glycosylation process, and its role in the protein function," explains Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Giridhar Rao. "This in turn facilitates the development of novel biodrugs."
The rapid progress of glycomics in the biopharmaceutical industry is evident from the existence of approximately half a dozen drugs, in which manipulation of carbohydrates and proteins provides advanced drug properties. For example, Epogen a glycotherapeutic drug contains two additional carbohydrate groups that can extend circulatory half-life and magnify efficiencies.
Active research on glycosyltransferases to understand the role of carbohydrate interactions in a cancerous cell is also likely to provide further opportunities for application of glycomics. One such prospect lies in the development of protein serum-based cancer diagnostics.
In fact, glycoprotein therapeutics is the fastest growing segment in the biopharmaceuticals industry with an annual growth rate of 24 percent, which is expected to accelerate further. However, maintaining adequate manufacturing capacity is a critical challenge.
"With around 100 protein-based drugs that are in late-stages of human clinical trials, few are likely to hit the market in the coming years," says Rao. "Hence, raising the demand for production capacity at least by four times more than the existing capacity. This may be essential to maintain the demand-supply equilibrium."