A biotech company has launched in the UK after securing a deal that includes intellectual property re-engineering biology by creating new classes of enzymes, pharmaceuticals and biomaterials.
Constructive Bio has completed a $15 million (€15 million) seed round and gained an exclusive license from the Medical Research Council to intellectual property (IP) developed by Professor Jason Chin’s Laboratory (The Chin Lab) at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB).
The Chin Lab has pioneered the development and application of methods for reprogramming the genetic code of living organisms, rewriting the near-universal genetic code of natural life to create organisms that use new genetic codes.
The new organisms deliver remarkable properties: they are resistant to a wide variety of viruses, they can be programmed to make new unnatural, or synthetic, polymers, and even perform entirely new functions.
The company, which is headquartered in Cambridge, UK, is based upon two core proprietary platform technologies. One is a large scale DNA assembly to construct large chunks of DNA at unprecedented scale – such as whole bacterial genomes can be built from scratch. The second is genome reprogramming that systematically recodes whole genomes to engineer unnatural products for commercial applications.
Together, 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. Further, novel polymers can be designed with the ability to breakdown and recycle the monomers to support a circular, sustainable economy, offering approaches to transform industries such as the $750 billion global polymers market, and help overcome global challenges such as climate change to benefit the planet and mankind.
Professor Jason Chin, chief scientific officer of Constructive Bio said: “Over the last 20 years, we have created a cellular factory that we can reliably and predictably program to create new polymers.
“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.
“Now is the right time to commercialize these technologies. I am pleased that we have attracted significant support and seed funding to establish Constructive Bio and capture this opportunity. By taking inspiration from nature and reimagining what life can become we have the opportunity to build the sustainable industries of the future.”
The company is led by recently appointed chief executive officer and board member Dr Ola Wlodek. She said: “I am excited to join Constructive Bio at inception and work with Jason to commercialize this ground-breaking research.
“The technologies use biology to access novel chemical space and generate polymers with a wide range of commercial applications across multiple industries, with an initial focus on bioproduction where our technology has significant commercial value in the near term.”
The company was set-up with support from Ahren’s Commercial Engine and with Ahren Science Partner input. The substantial seed round was led by Ahren alongside Amadeus Capital Partners, General Inception and OMX Ventures. The funding will be used to build out the technology platforms for commercial application, including assembling synthetic genomes and synthesis of non-natural polymers using bacterial strains.