By Karen Bernstein

Many companies stumble at the point where they must make the transition from research to development - they can discover interesting compounds, but can't turn them into products.

Glycomed Inc. wanted to avoid that pitfall and, even more to the point, begin moving products quickly through development in order to achieve milestones that investors would recognize as adding value to the company.

Aiming to achieve those goals, GLYC has just completed a year-long strategic review designed to focus the company on moving a few compounds to market. The process cost an undisclosed amount of money, but "coming out of this with a clear strategic focus was worth the exercise," said Alan Timms, chairman, president and CEO.

The review began from the premise that GLYC's carbohydrate technology has potential in fields as diverse as cardiovascular disease, dermatology and ophthalmology, but that exploiting them all would risk spreading the company too thin.

Narrowing the field

At the start of its review, GLYC had active compounds and potential indications that yielded a total of 79 product opportunities. The company looked at about eight areas as potential business units, including cardiovascular disease, dermatology, oncology, shock and surgery. The goal was to narrow the opportunities down to two compounds with multiple indications per business unit.