Award-winning platform company, Iceni Glycoscience (formerly Iceni Diagnostics) is to broaden the scope of its operations within the field of glycoscience (carbohydrate chemistry and biology) as the role of carbohydrates in human disease becomes increasingly apparent.

With mounting concerns about coronavirus mutations and rising incidents of influenza (human, equine and avian), the need for new and improved diagnostics and therapeutic modalities to address infectious disease has never been greater. These need to be capable of producing earlier, faster, more accurate results – something which glycoscience methodologies offer by working uniquely at the initial binding stage of a virus. They have the potential to pick up on new variants or mutations far quicker than tests which typically work by detecting viral nucleic acids or proteins, both of which require prior knowledge about the virus structure.

Iceni Glycoscience has been pioneering the use of glycoscience for diagnostic and therapeutic benefit since 2014, exploiting the natural biological function of glycans (complex sugars) as an alternative to protein or nucleic acid targets.

Glycoscience, however, is not limited to viruses. A rapidly expanding understanding of the glycobiology of other human and animal diseases, including cancer and autoimmunity is providing new points of intervention to impact on these conditions, using glycan targets or glycan-based drugs to affect the progress and outcomes of these diseases.

In addition to its new internal programme of research and development, Iceni Glycoscience’s expertise and focus on cutting-edge glycoscience and glycoengineering allows the Norwich-based company to offer its world-class expertise in this relatively new field to other companies as collaborations or contract research.

Dr Martin Stocks, CEO of Iceni Glycoscience, said:

Dr Martin Stocks

“The pharmaceutical world and, by default, society has become fixated with proteins or nucleic acids (DNA or RNA) as the main routes for developing diagnostics and therapeutics. However, there is another way – and, over the last few years, our work and academic partnerships have demonstrated quite convincingly why glycans represent an important alternative way forward.

“There is now an enormous buzz around the potential of glycoscience to deliver both diagnostic tests and new therapeutic interventions across a variety of applications in human and animal health. As well as driving our own internal programmes, we have the credibility and expertise within the sector to be able to offer our unique expertise to other companies working on their own projects – with the aim of enabling new products to get to market quicker for the benefit of all. Hence, we have decided to transition the name of the company from Iceni Diagnostics to Iceni Glycoscience to better represent our core focus and our broader service offerings.”