Ann Arbor’s Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, a biotechnology company that creates genetically engineered spider silk-based fibers, has developed new protein designs with the potential to create new materials and open other markets for the company’s technologies.
The isolated DNA in the new proteins exhibit higher performance than the company’s original baseline transgenic spider silk proteins and is expected to enhance future products.
“I am very excited by the possibilities these new DNA constructs can offer,” says Trevor Kane, chief scientist. “By incorporating these new designs with our proven mix and match assembly system, we are opening new doors and a vast array of end material properties. I applaud my team for the willingness and determination to continually expand the cutting edge of transgenic spider silk research.”
Kraig hired additional research personnel this year, and the lab has identified native protein sequences from an unnamed species that has demonstrated performance beyond the capabilities of the company’s current transgenics.
The DNA encoding from specific portions of the species’ proteins has been synthesized and is in the company’s labs. The proteins are believed to be responsible for the performance that the native materials exhibit.
Kane says the team employed its new mix and match assembly system, which allows for accelerated development and performance experimentation to design the new DNA domains to integrate with the company’s existing DNA constructs. This approach allows the company to produce a fiber containing a blend of current technologies with new DNA constructs.
Kraig plans to continue to advance the commercialization of its current suite of technologies, which have different target markets. Its production arm, Prodigy Textiles, is preparing to make its first commercial delivery of enhanced fibers in the first quarter of 2020.