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Minister Ambrose Announces New Glycomics Research Network to Prevent and Treat Diseases

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Feb 6, 2015) - Industry Canada

The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, on behalf of her colleague, the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology), today announced that GlycoNet, a new national research network, is receiving $27.3 million over five years to develop new drugs and vaccines for conditions such as influenza, genetic diseases and diabetes.

GlycoNet will build on Canada's international leadership in glycomics during the last 50 years. GlycoNet researchers will analyze the function of glycomes (or carbohydrates) in the body and find ways to take advantage of their biological role to fight various diseases. Bringing together more than 60 researchers from across Canada who work in such disciplines as chemistry, biochemistry, biology and immunology, the network will help develop new drugs and vaccines to improve the health and well-being of Canadians.

Today's investment is the result of the most recent competition in the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. The competition resulted in four new networks receiving funding, which includes GlycoNet, and one existing network being renewed for a second five-year term.

NCEs mobilize a critical mass of expertise from across the country, bringing together health, natural and social scientists as well as engineers. Partners from industry, government and the not-for-profit sector contribute additional expertise and support.

Quick facts

  • On December 15, 2014, the Government of Canada named five research networks to conduct groundbreaking research that is focused on addressing major social, economic, or health- and life sciences-related issues:


    • Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life-AGE-WELL (Toronto, Ontario)

    • Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment-BioCanRX (Ottawa, Ontario)

    • Canadian Glycomics Network-GlycoNet (Edmonton, Alberta)

    • Canadian Arrhythmia Network-CANet (London, Ontario)


    • NeuroDevNet (Vancouver, British Columbia)

  • With these new grants, the Networks of Centres of Excellence program currently funds 14 networks.

  • Recently, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered on the government's commitment to provide an updated science, technology and innovation strategy. The strategy, Seizing Canada's Moment, is a vision and a road map for strengthening Canada's position as a global leader in scientific research while looking to harness greater Canadian innovations that create jobs, increase prosperity and improve the quality of life of Canadians.


"Through our updated science, technology and innovation strategy, our government is making the necessary investments to push the boundaries of knowledge, create jobs and prosperity, and improve the quality of life of Canadians. The newest Networks of Centres of Excellence will undertake research in the important areas of biochemistry, cancer, arrhythmia, aging and brain development, leveraging nationwide talent and resources to tackle social and economic challenges that are important to Canadians."

- Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology)

"Our government is committed to investing in world-class research networks such as GlycoNet, which will develop new drugs and vaccines to fight diseases that affect millions of Canadians. These investments will improve our quality of life and contribute to the creation of a stronger, more innovative economy and a more prosperous Canada."

- Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health

"GlycoNet will bring together the top researchers in glycomics to develop treatments for illnesses ranging from diabetes to tuberculosis. On behalf of the federal research funding agencies, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is delighted to support this promising collaboration between researchers from different disciplines and partners from different sectors. GlycoNet will join the impressive lineup of NCEs that are already helping drive innovation in Canada."

- Dr. Alain Beaudet, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"The network will build on the activities of the Alberta Glycomics Centre and the tremendous jurisdictional strength Canada has in this important and rapidly evolving field. GlycoNet will become an international research and translation hub in glycomics and a crucial driver for novel solutions to unmet medical needs, including vaccines, drugs and devices."

- Dr. Todd Lowary, Scientific Director, GlycoNet

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  • Backgrounder

Associated links


NCE competition results

NCE program information

Currently funded NCEs

Science, technology and innovation strategy, Seizing Canada's Moment

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Announcement of NCE Competition Results

Since its creation in 1989, the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program has successfully brought together the best minds from many disciplines and sectors in efforts to solve major social, economic or health issues for Canadians.

The program supports large-scale, collaborative research networks that harness the creativity and inventiveness of Canadian health, natural and social scientists as well as engineers. Funded networks integrate expertise from academia, industry, government and not-for-profit organizations in a shared effort to generate and implement solutions to problems. In 2013-14, partner organizations of the networks added $63.4 million of financial and in-kind support to the funding from the NCE.

International acclaim has led other countries, including Australia, South Africa and some in the European Union, to incorporate the NCE model into their programs.

The NCE program currently supports 14 research networks.


GylcoNet ($27.3 million), headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta

The Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) will build on Canada's international leadership in glycomics over the last 50 years. Glycomics researchers (working in such disciplines as chemistry, biochemistry, biology and immunology) analyze the many and varied roles of carbohydrates in biological processes, including the carbohydrate structures on blood cells that determine blood type. Glycomics-based research has the potential to lead to the development of new drugs and vaccines for conditions such as influenza, genetic diseases or diabetes. By bringing together all key Canadian glycomics researchers, GlycoNet will deliver solutions to important health issues. In this rapidly growing field, the network aims to become a global destination for researchers and industry seeking solutions to problems through applied glycomics research

GlycoNet collaborates with the following partners:

Industry Partners

Alberta Chicken Producers

Alectos Therapeutics

Cubist Pharmaceuticals

Mombretin Therapeutics


QOL Medical



Academic Partners

Alberta Glycomics Centre

Centre de Recherche sur les Macromolécules Végétales

Centre for Mathematics, Science and Technology Education

Drexel University College of medicine

The Hospital for Sick Children


Institute for Glycomics

Japan Consortium for Glycobiology and Glycotechnology

Leiden Institute of Chemistry - Glycomimetics Lead Factory

Mac Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

McGill University

McMaster University

National Center for Functional Glycomics

Simon Fraser University

Structural Genomics Consortium

Taiwan GlycoForum

University of Alberta

University of Guelph

University of Toronto

Wilfrid Laurier University

Ferrier Research Institute

Provincial Partners

Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures

Federal Partners

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Canadian National Transplant Research Program

Centre for Drug Research and Development


National Research Council


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