Biopharmaceutical drugs are mainly recombinant glycoproteins produced in cell culture. These macromolecules are inherently heterogeneous structurally, most notably in terms of glycosylation. Certain structural attributes have detrimental effect on drug safety profile and therapeutic performance, and therefore, should be routinely monitored for safety and quality assurance of therapeutic proteins.

The assessment of product safety and quality through product and process analysis is the major task of the GlycoAnalytics Group. The Group has anchored technologies in monitoring vital components involved in cell culture, especially amino acids, to assist medium design and optimization of the operating strategy in running bioprocesses.

Extensive biopharmaceutical product characterization is also routinely carried out for protein aggregation, conformation and glycosylation analysis utilizing a suite of technologies consisting of MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS), High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Capillary Electrophoresis (CE), and Multi-Angle Light Scattering device (MALS) and other established biochemical assays.

In particular, a comprehensive glycan analytical platform has been built up based on the MALDI-TOF and HPLC systems for both N- and O-glycan profiling of recombinant glycoprotein drugs (IgG, EPO, IFN-γ, etc.). Additionally, the glycoanalytics platform has been applied to the study of glycosylation status of host cell lines and tissues. This enabling analytical platform now allows us to monitor many glycosylation-associated critical quality attributes (gCQAs) such as site occupancy, sialic acid types and their levels, as well as relative abundance of glycan species, to ensure the safety and efficacy of biopharmaceutical products.

The group is also developing new methods and platforms for rapid, more detailed glycosylation characterization at higher throughput to strengthen the glycomics and glycoproteomics capabilities for the development of novel drugs and biosimilars in Singapore.


Ian Walsh2

Dr. Ian Walsh
Senior Staff Scientist

PhD in Bioinformatics (2009), University College Dublin, Ireland

Research Focus/Interests

  • Novel adaptive computational models to annotate and interpret raw biological data
  • Bioinformatics software and methods development
  • Machine learning
  • Data analytics
Zach Pang

Dr. Zach Pang
Research Fellow

PhD in Bioengineering (2020), Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Research Focus/Interests

  • Mechanobiological study of glycosylation
  • Biological data analytics
  • Real-time and high throughput monitoring of glycosylation in bioprocessing
  • Biological applications of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Sean Chia v2

Dr. Sean Chia
Research Fellow

PhD in Biophysics (2020), University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

Research Focus/Interests

  • New approaches and analytical tools for antibody and biotherapeutic developability profiling