Back on the Glyco@Alps symposium: "From glycosciences to innovation: barriers and levers"

on the November 14, 2017

The Glycosciences community gathered around the theme "From glycosciences to innovation: barriers and levers" on November 14 at the amphitheatre of the Centre Technique du Papier (CTP) in Grenoble. This day brought together more than 80 participants: academic researchers from various disciplines, companies, CTP, Satt Linksium and the Trimatech and Axelera competitiveness clusters.
ConferenceInnovative companies shared their experiences in glycoscience-based research and development:
  • Chomarat - cellulose nanofribrils (Ardèche),
  • Elicytil - production of oligosaccharides (Isère),
  • Polymaris - production of exopolysaccharides of marine origin (Finistère),
  • Inofib - production of cellulose microfibrils (Isère),
  • SiaMed' Xpress - production of recombinant oligosaccharides specialized in glycosilation (Bouches-du-Rhône),
  • Inbiose - production of oligosaccharides for infant nutrition (Belgium),
  • Alganelle - production of therapeutic glycoproteins (Savoie).

These companies stressed that the success of glycoscience-based innovations depends on:
  • Strong interaction with the world of research, greatly facilitated by the scientific careers of industrialists
  • The need to participate in structuring collaborative projects
  • The need for innovation in business models
  • Industrial exploitation of a research-based technology

Companies are confronted with the traditional barriers encountered by innovative companies:
  • Problems of financing innovation
  • Some bio-sourced products do not perform as well as fossil carbon-based products. The challenge is to develop hybrid or high value-added products and not to substitute fossil carbon for biomass.
  • Production costs often remain high
  • Difficulties of industrial appropriation of technology (example of chromatogeny in the paper industry)
  • In healthcare sector, regulatory validations are costly and time-consuming; this is an advantage for companies proposing solutions.
  • Targets for reducing environmental impact are difficult to achieve

These companies have reported specific barriers to innovation in glycomics:
  •  Lack of standards for sugars measurement
  • Lack of structure in the glycomics sector (e. g. lack of databases of molecules and synthesis intermediates).

Glycosciences are part of the promise-based economy. Indeed, their objectives are to create bio-sourced and high-performance products in a context of reducing carbon footprint. But there are still a number of barriers to meet societal expectations.
Published on December 20, 2017