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E. Coli Bacteria Becomes Factory for Sugar-Modified Proteins to Make Cheaper, Faster Pharmaceuticals

Escherichia coli -- a bacteria considered the food safety bane of restaurateurs, grocers and consumers -- is a friend. Cornell University biomolecular engineers have learned to use E. coli to produce sugar-modified proteins for making pharmaceuticals cheaper and faster.

Matthew DeLisa, Cornell associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and his research team, now have published a novel method for engineering human therapeutic glycoproteins simply and quickly by using E. coli bacteria as a platform. Their methods are now being developed and commercialized through a startup company, Glycobia Inc., which recently took up residence in Cornell's McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences. While there are no firm plans yet, the professor hopes that within a year, testing this kind of pharmaceutical could be done at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan.

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