Constructive Bio genome startup eyes US$750bn polymer market

UK-based Constructive Bio has created technology for producing synthetic genomes, hopes it can help fight climate change in US$750bn polymers market

Constructive Bio has launched as a UK-based biotechnology company following the completion of a US$15 million seed round which will see it create synthetic genomes from scratch. The implications could be significant for sustainability, food, and electronics.

The company has also been granted an exclusive license from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to IP developed by The Chin Lab at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (MRC-LMB).

The MRC technologies can be used for commercial applications across a range of industries including agriculture, manufacturing and materials. Novel polymers can also be designed with the ability to breakdown and recycle the monomers to support a circular, sustainable economy – a move that could transform the US$750bn global polymers market while simultaneously helping the planet. Polymers are used in everything from grocery bags to plastic bottles, phones to food packaging, auto parts to toys.

“Over the last 20 years, we have created a cellular factory that we can reliably and predictably program to create new polymers,” says Professor Jason Chin, Programme Leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Chief Scientific Officer of Constructive Bio.

“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 commercialise 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.”

Constructive Bio aims to write DNA of whole living organisms from scratch

Constructive Bio is led by CEO and Board member Dr Ola Wlodek, former Chief Operating Officer at Reflection Therapeutics. Ola brings more than 15 years of biopharma and R&D experience.

The company was set-up with support from Ahren’s Commercial Engine and with Ahren Science Partner input. The 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.

“If we think of cellular biosystems as biological factories, we need to be able to write the cell’s operating system in a rapid, accurate and affordable way,” says Pierre Socha, Partner, Amadeus Capital Partners.

“The foundational challenge then becomes how to write the DNA of whole living organisms, from scratch, to optimise the manufacturing of these bioproducts. And that’s what Constructive Bio is going after. By creating tools that allow us to design and program cells, we will address issues from protein-based therapeutic design, industrial and environmental sustainability, food and agriculture, to consumer care and electronics.”

Ahren is a deep tech and deep science investment firm set up by Alice Newcombe-Ellis alongside co-Founding Science Partners. Together, these Founders created companies and/or technologies that are today valued in excess of US$100bn combined. Ahren's Portfolio companies include AI21 Labs, Graphcore, Zapata Computing, ZOE, Phaidra, Heirloom Carbon, and Bicycle Therapeutics among others.

A trailblazer for three decades, Amadeus Capital Partners invests in people who create transformational technologies and sustainable businesses. They back early stage and growth companies in Europe and Latin America, from locations in Cambridge, London and Oxford, San Francisco and São Paulo. 

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