For Immediate Release

GlycoNet start-up GlyCa Biosciences Inc. and Huron Innovation Inc. partner to improve prostate cancer detection

This partnership will launch the clinical trial of a new blood test to perfect early detection and diagnosis of clinically significant prostate cancer.
GlycoNet researchers (top left to right) Hon S. Leong, John Klassen, (bottom left to right) Karla Williams, and John Trant.

EDMONTON, ALBERTA (November 16, 2022) – GlycoNet, one of the world’s leaders in glycomics—the study of carbohydrates in living organisms—is pleased to announce that one of its five start-up companies, GlyCa Biosciences Inc., has entered into a seed funding round with Huron Innovation Inc. This collaboration will advance clinical research for a new blood test to improve early detection and diagnosis of clinically significant prostate cancer in patients, with the main goal of minimizing unnecessary invasive tissue biopsies. Considering that approximately one in eight Canadian men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime1, this new blood test could significantly impact healthcare for Canadians.

“Our vision is to see a blood test that will decide if a patient should undergo a prostate needle biopsy or spare them from further testing,” says Dr. Hon S. Leong, Director of GlyCa Biosciences. “I am beyond ecstatic to see longstanding engagement from a federally funded organization such as GlycoNet combined with investment from Huron Innovation Inc. to make this dream of the perfect blood test come to clinical reality. Many resources went into developing these blood tests in order to make sure we have something worth trialing. The clinical trials funded by Huron Innovation and CIHR will hopefully transform the diagnostic pathway of prostate cancer and continue Canada’s reputation for strong and cutting-edge prostate cancer research.”

“Huron Innovation is proud to partner with GlyCa Biosciences and be at the forefront of this groundbreaking technology to make a better method of prostate cancer detection,” says Terence Wai, Director of Huron Innovation Inc. “The partnership will accelerate this promising research to make a difference and build a better future.”

With support from GlycoNet, GlyCa Biosciences has been developing blood tests focused on prostate cancer detection since 2018. Huron Innovation has co-developed four pieces of technology with GlyCa Biosciences that form the foundation of the blood tests to be evaluated in the clinical trial. The technology involves contributions from four GlycoNet researchers across three provinces: Dr. John Klassen, University of Alberta; Dr. John Trant, University of Windsor; Dr. Karla Williams, University of British Columbia, and Dr. Hon S. Leong, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre / University of Toronto.

“This partnership is a shining example of how interdisciplinary collaboration across Canada, combined with investment in glycomics, can translate to tremendous impacts in health and the economy,” says Dr. Elizabeth Nanak, CEO of GlycoNet. “I am pleased to see GlyCa Biosciences’ innovative blood tests come one step closer to being used in clinics to improve patient care.”

1Canadian Cancer Society

About GlycoNet
GlycoNet is the network under which GlycoNet Integrated Services (GIS) operates. GlycoNet is advancing research, innovation, and training in glycomics to improve the quality of life of Canadians using a One Health approach. GlycoNet is a pan-Canadian research network consisting of 175 researchers in 35 institutions across the country participating in 125 funded projects. GlycoNet researchers use the study of carbohydrates (sugars) in living cells to find solutions to unmet health needs through the development of drugs, vaccines and diagnostics. GlycoNet focuses on four major research areas: cancer, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases. GlycoNet is also a leader in training the next generation of glycoscientists and promoting collaboration and advancement in glycomics research. Learn more on our website:

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