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Bruker goes to Korea
DAEJON, Korea—Bruker Corp. and the Graduate School of Analytical Science and Technology (GRAST) at Chungnam National University will collaborate to advance the field of glycomics and its applications in the rapidly growing biopharmaceutical industry in the Republic of Korea. This collaboration adds to the growing number of partnerships and industry linkage projects which Bruker has fostered with the scientific communities of Asia Pacific, the company notes.
Under their collaboration agreement, the GRAST team, led by Prof. Hyun Joo An, and the Glycomics Applications Development Group at Bruker, led by Dr. Detlev Suckau, will jointly develop MALDI-TOF-based methodologies targeting the analysis of glycans. MALDI-TOF refers to combining a matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization source with a time-of-flight mass analyzer and is considered a soft ionization technique which allows the analysis of biopolymers such as DNA, proteins, peptides and sugars, which tend to be fragile and fragment when ionized by more conventional methods. It is similar in character to electrospray ionization (ESI) both in relative softness and the ions produced.
The purpose of these studies will be to create a better understanding of the function of glycans in biomolecules and their key role in many biological processes—an undertaking of considerable complexity. For example, DNA and RNA have four building blocks each (the nucleosides or nucleotides). Lipids are divided into eight categories. Proteins have 20 (the amino acids), while saccharides have 32 types of sugar linkages. For proteins and genes, building blocks can be attached only linearly; for saccharides, they can be arranged in an array of branches, further increasing the degree of complexity.
The partners will target much of their efforts toward the development of specific methods and software applications that can be utilized in the development and quality control of biosimilar pharmaceutical products, such as therapeutic antibodies. In conjunction with industrial partners in Korea and the Korea Basic Science Institute (KBSI)—already a key Bruker collaborator—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 with Bruker to develop our MALDI-TOF and other analytical approaches to advance the field of glycomics in Korea," states An. "The potential we see, particularly for the biosimilar industry, indicates that glycan research will continue to increase in importance, particularly as workflows develop to unravel its complexities."
"We are proud to announce this collaboration with Bruker, and will work closely together with them to develop cutting-edge methodologies for Glycomics research," adds Dr. Kwang Hwa Chung, dean of GRAST at Chungnam National University.
"Development of meaningful and result-driven partnerships with premier research teams in Asia Pacific has been a focus for Bruker in recent years," notes Clive Seymour, Bruker Daltonics' Asia Pacific region executive vice president. "Our technologies and workflows offer enormous potential to advance the developing fields in glycomics and particularly in its applications in the biopharmaceutical area. Under the direction of Prof. An and her team at GRAST, we are confident the outcomes of this partnership will help drive a rapidly growing research field in Korea and beyond."
GRAST was jointly established by Chungnam National University and KBSI in an effort to bring out the synergistic efforts in both education and research. GRAST is said to be the only graduate school in Korea structured in this fashion. Its curriculum covers theory, principles and applications of analytical technologies in the fields of nanoscience, bioscience, environmental science and many other fusion fields of study.