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The 2013 BioFinland prize to Glykos Finland ltd

Glykos Finland ltd is a Helsinki-based biotechnolology company, whose top expertise in glycobiology-based products has brought it international success. Finnish Bioindustries FIB and the Finnish Fair Foundation have awarded the 2013 BioFinland prize to Glykos Finland ltd.

The Helsinki-based Glykos is an expert in glycobiology research and development. Glycans are carbohydrate composites attached to proteins or lipids inside cells. They are either small one-molecule units (monosaccharides), or consist of several similar or different monosaccharides. Glycan molecules are important factors in several biological processes, such as interaction between cells, the building of immunity, and conception and cellular differentiation.

For example, the company’s research and development projects focus on the development of cancer antibodies, antibody-drug conjugate technology (ADC), antibody glycoforms and stem cell research. Glykos has created a significant patent portfolio based on glycan research and product development projects. Approximately 90% of Glykos Finland ltd’s turnover is generated abroad. The company was awarded the BioFinland prize on 20 March 2013.

The company was founded in 2004, by researchers educated at the University of Helsinki. It has made a profit every year since then. Glykos has steadily grown its expertise-based business and successfully financed its operations, based on funding from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The firm’s clients are large enterprises in the pharmaceutical industry. Some 60 top experts, mainly post-doctoral bioscientists, are currently employed by the company’s projects. The number of employees has risen steadily.

As its grounds for making the award, the panel appointed by Finnish Bioindustries FIB cited Glykos’ position as a company based on top expertise, and operating in a narrow sector with a significant patent portfolio. It is financially successful, with a turnover in 2011 of 6 million euros. “It is noteworthy that, unlike many biotechnology companies struggling to finance their operations, Glykos has built a business of this level without external capital,” says Timo Veromaa, Chairman of Finnish Bioindustries FIB.

The € 5,000 BioFinland prize is bestowed by the Finnish Fair Foundation, now awarded for the fourth time in connection with the ChemBio Finland exhibition. On previous occasions, the award has been made to Finnzymes Oy (2007), Biosilta Oy (2009) and Oncos Therapeutics (2011). The BioFinland prize is awarded to a Finnish person, group, community, or enterprise which has developed a bio-industry innovation that can be further developed into an internationally significant product.


Juhani Saarinen, Managing Director, Glykos Finland Oy, tel. +358 50 548 4243

Timo Veromaa, Chairman of the Board, Finnish Bioindustries FIB, tel. +358 40 573 9933

Carmela Kantor-Aaltonen, Director, Finnish Bioindustries FIB, tel. +358 50 404 5166.