In the United Kingdom, synthetic biology firm Constructive Bio has launched with $15 million in seed investment to scale and commercialize a platform to create new classes of enzymes, pharmaceuticals, and biomaterials.
The technology is based on an exclusive license from the Medical Research Council of developed by Professor Jason Chin’s Laboratory. The Chin Lab has pioneered the development and application of methods for reprogramming the genetic code of living organisms that are resistant to a wide variety of viruses, can be programmed to make new unnatural, or synthetic, polymers, and even perform entirely new functions. The MRC technologies will be used by Constructive Bio to synthesize polymers with non-natural amino acids for commercial applications across a range of industries including novel therapeutics and antibiotics, enhanced agriculture, manufacturing and materials. In addition, the new organisms’ phage resistance can be used to increase bio-manufacturing yields.
“Over the last 20 years, we have created a cellular factory that we can reliably and predictably program to create new polymers,” Chin says. “The range of applications for this technology is vast—using our approach we have already been able to program cells to make new molecules including from an important class of drugs and to program cells to make completely synthetic polymers containing the chemical linkages found in biodegradable plastics.”