Kifunensine Serendipity

A New Zealand Research Commercialisation Success Story

Kifunensine is a crucial ingredient in the manufacture of an enzyme replacement therapeutic for the treatment of a rare genetic disorder.

A viable manufacturing process was developed by GlycoSyn, a world class technology leader in the area of Carbohydrate Chemistry and a business unit of Callaghan Innovation.

GlycoSyn specialises in high quality drug development and prototype scale-up manufacture of complex drug candidates for its clients. A synthetic pathway to Kifunensine was developed in-house and the process patented by GlycoSyn, positioning themselves as one of the world’s few providers of this valuable compound and one of the few commercial providers of pharmaceutical grade material. GlycoSyn successfully connected with a US-based Biotech multinational for the export sale of clinical grade Kifunensine.

Total revenues generated with this partner have exceeded NZ$16M over the last 7 years, with demand steadily increasing, year-on-year, until commercial launch of the business partner’s product in 2010.

To put the worth of this material in perspective, on a per gram basis Kifunensine is 20 times more valuable than gold. GlycoSyn’s development and commercialisation of Kifunensine is an exemplar for a commercial deal from publicly funded research, generating significant economic returns to New Zealand.

Kifunensine won the Commercial Deal Award at the 2014 KiwiNet Awards.