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June 13, 2022

Pangaia partners Spiber on biofabricated hoodie launch

Materials science company Pangaia has teamed with Japanese biotech startup, Spiber, to launch a sweatshirt made using Brewed Proteins fibres and organic cotton.

By Hannah Abdulla

The partnership between Spiber and Pangaia Lab was born through a mutual mission to find bio-based alternatives to fossil fuel and animal-derived fibres. Spiber’s Brewed Protein materials are made from plant-derived biomass and a proprietary fermentation process that produces a biological building block that can be sculpted for different applications.

Brewed Protein polymers can be transformed into a variety of forms, from delicate filament fibres with a silky sheen to spun yarns that have cashmere-like softness or the thermal and moisture-wicking properties of wool. Brewed Protein fibres are also well-positioned to address numerous pressing environmental issues and risks; unlike many existing synthetic materials, their large-scale production is expected to produce significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and require less land and water use than traditional animal-derived fibres such as cashmere.

The NXT GEN Hoodie powered by Brewed Protein will be available only on pangaia.com, with less than 200 available worldwide, for $395 in sizes XXS-XXL. This limited-edition capsule is the first step in a longer-term agreement to scale access to Brewed Protein materials.

“Spiber’s Brewed Protein fibres will disrupt the way we create fabrics through biofabrication and allow brands to transition away from carbon-polluting materials. The Spiber team shows a deep and impressive commitment to complex innovation; we both were eager to bring this capsule to life through Pangaia Lab and show the cutting-edge technology is ready to scale,” said Dr. Amanda Parkes, Pangaia chief innovation officer.

Last year, Spiber raised JPY34.4bn (US$312.6m) in funding to help drive a rapid scale-up of production and global expansion prior to a planned IPO in the coming years.

Kenji Higashi, Spiber head of business development, sales and sustainability, added: “Not many brands have the capabilities and patience to harness a completely new material like Brewed Protein fiber to create a first-of-a-kind product. It has been a great experience working with the Pangaia team, whose members brought world-class technical expertise and scientific insight to our joint project, and whose mission to enable innovative solutions for a more sustainable world overlaps with our own. After over two years of joint development, we are very excited to finally see the world’s first sweatshirts containing Brewed Protein fiber being produced by Pangaia.”

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