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August 1, 2022

Solena secures Insempra investment for high performance sustainability

Solena will be a major part of Insempra’s platform to deliver high-performance, intrinsically sustainable ingredients for a broad array of industries.

By Michelle Russell

Solena Materials, a synthetic biology company has received investment from Insempra, in a move that will help deliver high-performance, intrinsically sustainable ingredients for a broad array of industries, including clothing.

Solena, a spin-out from Imperial College London, develops synthetic proteins for high-performance clothing fibers. The investment will allow Insempra, formerly Origin.Bio, to accelerate its strategy of harnessing new technologies to advance biological production processes, creating naturally superior products to drive the regenerative revolution.

Solena will be a major part of Insempra’s platform to deliver high-performance, intrinsically sustainable ingredients for a broad array of industries. The company is using computational design to develop new classes of synthetic proteins to produce high-performance clothing fibres, which can absorb large amounts of kinetic energy.

Insempra will accelerate the development and production of these synthetic proteins on an industrial scale, offering better, biobased solutions to the petrochemically sourced, non-biodegradable materials or fibres extracted from nature or animals, such as silk, currently used in the textile and clothing industries. This technology also reduces other environmental impacts such as the rise of microplastics in water bodies coming from washing petrochemically-sourced textiles.

Jens Klein, founder and CEO of Insempra and CEO of Solena Materials, commented: “We are hugely excited by this investment in Solena, which will help to accelerate our market-first approach to develop superior, intrinsically sustainable ingredients. We look forward to fast-tracking Solena’s development and production of their unique synthetic proteins to develop customized, high-performance fibers for a variety of applications.”

Dr James MacDonald, inventor, co-founder and CTO of Solena Materials, added: “The team and I are very excited to make this technology a huge success.”

Professor Paul Freemont of Imperial College London, added: “This investment from Insempra recognises the potential of our technology to revolutionise high-performance fabrics, and their supply chains. Together, we can harness our synthetic biology capabilities to develop, produce and manufacture a new class of superior, more sustainable fibre technology.”

Insempra, a co-founder of Solena, will be the sole contributing shareholder in Solena, which is based at Imperial College’s Translation & Innovation Hub (I-HUB) in White City, London. Solena’s board will be comprised of Dr James MacDonald of Solena, Professor Paul Freemont and Professor Milo Shaffer of Imperial College London, and Jens Klein and Andreas Heyl of Insempra.

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