Is A Young MedTech Company Established In Bratislava In 2017. It Uses Its Unique, Patented Technology To Analyse Glycans (Complex Sugars Attached To Proteins) Changes On Selected Serum Markers To Diagnose Cancer In Early Stage




Early diagnostics of cancer is of a great importance, since screening methods are either inaccurate or completely missing. At the same time, early cancer diagnostics represents one of the key success factors for successful treatment. Glycans are a “third alphabet” of biology – in addition to DNA and proteins, they encode biological information we are only now beginning to understand. Except for their physiological function, such as determining blood groups (AB0 system), they play an important role in viral infection or cancer progression. Glycanostics is up until now the only company bringing to market its unique, glycan-based tests for the most common solid tumours in the world.

From left to right: Jan Tkac (CSO), Eva Kovacova (CEO) and Tomas Bertok (CTO)

Our story
When Jan Tkac returned from his postdoc positions in Oxford (UK), Linkoping and Lund (both in Sweden) back to Slovakia, he met Tomas Bertok – his future Ph.D. student and another co-founder of the Glycanostics Company.

Together, they obtained several national and international awards and grants for their research, such as ERC Starting and ERC Proof of Concept grants (as the only ones in Slovakia so far), Scientist of the Year in Slovakia and awards from the President of Slovakia and Ministry of Education of Slovakia, or grants from European commission.

Eva Kovacova (right) and Jan Tkac (left) presenting the company to Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen (President of the EC) and Mr. Eduard Heger (Slovak Prime Minister

In the meantime, Eva Kovacova was about to finish her work on her latest M&A integration project – establishing a joint venture between GSK and Pfizer for their consumer healthcare portfolios. They met in autumn 2020 and Eva became the new CEO of Glycanostics as of 2021. They raised investment of 1M €, obtained EIC-Accelerator grant of ~2M € and the grant from Slovak Research and Development Agency of 0.25M €.

The mission of Glycanostics is to establish glycan-based, highly accurate, affordable, and non-invasive tests for cancer diagnostics in early stages (new generation of liquid biopsy) which could save millions of people’s lives and prevent unnecessary treatment.

 Diagnostics is done by the analysis of glycan changes on specific proteins like prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in case of prostate cancer (flag ship of Glycanostics portfolio) in a non-invasive way, i.e. directly in human serum. Thus, molecular changes of the proteins like PSA are applied for cancer diagnostics. The tests are designed to help clinicians to make a proper decision about a need to perform a biopsy. As the biopsy misses ~30% of prostate cancer patients and leads to many obnoxious consequences, our glycan-based test can serve as a follow up test as well.

Prostate cancer disease can be treatable and early diagnostics is the key – and this is also true for other cancer types. Following the launch of the prostate cancer test we plan to develop diagnostic kits for 10 additional cancer types, including breast, lung, pancreatic, ovarian, testicular, thyroid, stomach, colorectal, bladder and liver cancer.

 Glycanostics is managed by three C-level executives. CEO, Eva Kovacova, FCCA is an expert in M&A, business strategy and finance, with over 17 years of experiences in multinational pharmaceutical companies. Jan Tkac, D.Sc., Ph.D. is a first-class scientist awarded by many prestigious grants from the European Commission and European Research Council, co-founder of the company and Chief Scientific 0fficer. Tomas Bertok, Ph. D. is a Young Scientist of the year 2016 and Innovative Young Entrepreneur of the year 2020 in Slovakia, co-founder of the company and Chief Technology Officer.

Together, they invented Glycanostics unique, patented technology to analyse glycan changes on cancer biomarkers in a format compatible with every clinical laboratory in the world. Together with Eva, they form a strong, resilient, and highly motivated team which aims to bring this revolutionary technology to the market and to help patients worldwide.

“IT IS HARD TO IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT COMPLEX SUGARS, BUT IF SUCH A WORLD EXISTED, IT WOULD BE MUCH DIMINISHED.” BRUCE BEUTLER (Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity, 2011)

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