BENZON SYMPOSIUM No. 54 Glycosylation – Opportunities in Drug Development

June 11-14, 2007 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Organizing committee: Ole Hindsgaul (Copenhagen), Henrik Clausen (Copenhagen), Monica M. Palcic (Copenhagen) and Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen (Copenhagen) Invited speakers and chairmen: BERTOZZI, Carolyn R. (USA) – BOCK, Klaus (Denmark) – BORÉN, Thomas (Sweden) – BURCHELL, Joy (United Kingdom) – CLAUSEN, Henrik (Denmark) – CROCKER, Paul (United Kingdom) – DAVIS, Ben (United Kingdom) – DENNIS, James W. (Canada) – DESNICK, Robert J. (USA) – ENDO, Tamao (Japan) – ERNST, Beat (Switzerland) – FREEZE, Hudson (USA) – GERNGROSS, Tillman U. (USA) – HARRIS, Reed J. (USA) – HART, Gerald W. (USA) – HENRISSAT, Bernard (France) – HINDSGAUL, Ole (Denmark) – HOFFMEISTER, Karin M. (USA) – HOLMDAHL, Rikard (Sweden) – JENSENIUS, Jens C. (Denmark) – LEFFLER, Hakon (Sweden) – LINDAHL, Ulf (Sweden) – LIVINGSTON, Philip (USA) – MARTH, Jamey D. (USA) – MIYAKE, Kensuke (Japan) – PALCIC, Monica (Denmark) – PAULSON, Jim (USA) – PETERS, Thomas (Germany) – PIERCE, Michael (USA) – RAETZ, Christian R. H. (USA) – SAMAIN, Eric (France) – SCHNAAR, Ronald L. (USA) – SEEBERGER, Peter H. (Switzerland) – STANLEY, Pamela (USA) – THORSON, Jon (USA) – VAN BOECKEL, Stan (The Netherlands) – VEREZ-BENCOMO, Vicente (Cuba) – VON ITZSTEIN, Mark (Australia) – ZOPF, David (USA)


Synopsis: Many carbohydrates in themselves, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, have long been used as drugs. Other antibiotics like erythromycin and the “drug-of-last-resort” Vancomycin, as well as important cardiovascular drugs and anti-cancer agents, require correct glycosylation for their activity. Yet the glycosylation-drug connection has remained largely unappreciated and unexploited, due in large part to the inherent complexity of the field of Glycobiology and the great difficulties in both producing and analyzing complex carbohydrate-containing structures. This situation is now changing rapidly.

Recombinant glycoprotein hormones and antibodies have become multi-billion dollar drugs, and isolated heterogeneous anticoagulants such as heparins are giving way to chemically well-defined synthetic analogs. Glycosylation of both proteins and small molecules is therefore being reassessed with respect to pharmaceutical potential. Breakthroughs in chemical and enzymatic synthesis have appeared, permitting systematic research on well-defined glycosylated molecules, including carbohydrate-base vaccines.

Enormous progress has been made in areas spanning the controlled expression of glycosylated proteins to the discovery of new carbohydrate-dependent pathogensis: examples include the binding of viruses, toxins and bacteria to cells. Finally, the maturation of the field of Glycobiology has suggested unanticipated targets for carbohydrate-based inhibition, including cell-cell adhesion and signalling. Benzon Symposium No. 54 has examined the state-of-the-art and explored future possibilities in the glycosylation-drug arena with the widest possible scope: from small molecules through to cells and animals.

Scientific program (pdf)

Abstracts (pdf)

Selected photos (pdf)