Kraig Labs to increase spider silk production
Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, a leading developer of spider silk-based fibres, is preparing to increase its production, adding an additional location to operate alongside its previously announced operation in Vietnam.
The company says the additional sites will enable it to meet outstanding material requests for recombinant spider silk fibres from collaboration partners and prospective clients more rapidly.
"Although securing a healthy supply of suitable mulberry leaves, to establish our domestic production, is a challenge, I believe that this initiative will yield many benefits, including enhancement of our R&D efforts," said COO Jon Rice. "Additionally, some of our end users may require that certain fibres are produced domestically, so this move places us ahead of that curve."
Kraig Labs uses genetic engineering technology to create spider silk – known as Monster Silk – which is spun by its line of transgenic silkworms. The composite fibre is composed of a combination of both spider silk proteins and silk from a silkworm, and is said to be significantly stronger and more flexible than commercial grade silk. The company is currently ramping up production and hopes to make significant inroads into the apparel market.
Last year the firm announced it had developed Dragon Silk, its strongest and most flexible technology so far. The fibre combines both the elasticity and strength elements of native spider silk, with a tensile strength as high ad 1.79 gigapascals on some samples.
Separately, California-based biotechnology business Bolt Threads last week said it has raised an additional $50m in funding and is working with outdoor firm Patagonia to develop its engineered spider silk yarns.
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