Thursday, October 18, 2012
From Functional Carbohydrates to Novel Glycomimetic Drugs
Every living cell is coated with carbohydrates that extend further out from the cell surface than the proteins in an area called the glycocalyx. These carbohydrates carry structural information that is used in recognition processes of cells with pathogens, receptors, enzymes, recognition molecules, and other cells. Bioactive conformations of these functional carbohydrates represent a relatively untapped source of novel drugs and innovative therapies. Progress in the field of Glycobiology presents many opportunities to transform current therapies and address unmet clinical needs with a novel technology of designing a new class of glycomimetic drugs based on the bioactive conformations of functional carbohydrates. This presentation will discuss the use of a novel glycomimetic antagonist to treat a life-threatening disease with historic unmet needs, and illustrate the validation of this approach by the current interest and investment of the Pharmaceutical industry.
John Magnani received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and then joined the Laboratory of Biological Pharmacology under Dr Victor Ginsburg at the National Institutes of Health. He remained at the NIH for ten years, finally serving as a tenured Research Chemist. Dr. Magnani left the NIH in 1988 and helped co-found the U.S. subsidiary of BioCarb and became its Vice President of Research. In 1992, he founded and managed GlycoTech Corp. as its President and CEO. In 2003, he co-founded GlycoMimetics, Inc based on technology acquired from GlycoTech, and currently serves as the company’s Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President. Dr. Magnani was the discoverer of Sialyl Lewisa and its functions. He was the first to identify the binding domain to the selectins common to both Sialyl Lewisa and Sialyl Lewisx and used this information to develop potent selectin inhibitors that are being developed as a novel class of glycomimetic drugs. During his career, he also identified and characterized many carbohydrate tumor antigens and developed fundamental technology for the identification of functional carbohydrate epitopes.
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