By Matthew Willett

Glygen Corp. said its glycoconjugate-based gene delivery technology, the Glygen Complex, could revolutionize gene therapy.

The Columbia, Md.-based company technology makes use of carbohydrate-based compounds, and the company said it avoids the pitfalls of virus-based or lipid-based liposome delivery vectors.

Founded just months ago, Glygen is seeking partnerships and venture capital support. Founder and CEO Ashok Shukla said the technology has completed proof-of-principle testing and is ready to find application with a partner's targets.

"In your body, any reaction that happens is recognizing, and carbohydrates are involved," Shukla told BioWorld Today. "Whether it's enzymes or receptors or blood groups, in some way carbohydrates are involved in recognizing. When you're putting DNA in a cell you have to recognize a particular cell, and we can use these glycoconjugates so that the DNA can go to a particular cell."

Shukla calls himself a "glyco-person," and in large part it is his research on which he founded the company. Prior to founding Glygen, Shukla founded and headed AmiKa Corp., a proteomics company.

Shukla said the initial funding for Glygen came from proceeds from the sale of AmiKa, which was acquired by Harvard BioScience Inc., of Holliston, Mass., in July for $3.1 million.

He said glycomics is the next step, likening it to the recognizable face on a body of knowledge built of proteomics and genomics.

"Wherever gene therapy can go, this technology will be there. What we're doing is putting the DNA back in the cell so the cell can function regularly. Any inherited disease or any disease where genes are playing a role, any disease where people can sequence and see what the problem is, we can put it inside."

He said that the company will aggressively seek protection for its technological basis, adding that Glygen now has five patents protecting that technology.

"Our main aim is, within the next 24 months, we must have about 20 patents worldwide to protect the technology. We have five now. At that time: IPO."