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Bio-engineering creates new peptide-based materials using bacteria

Copyright: Zentraxa Ltd

Researchers are using an innovative synthetic biology approach to produce entirely new peptide-based materials.

Data breakout

98% Reduction in environmentally-damaging waste products compared to existing methods
£500k Private investment received by Zentraxa
£208k Investment from BBSRC and Innovate UK through IB Catalyst funding
$426m Estimated value of the synthetic peptides market by 2023

The new technology, called Zentide, uses bacteria to produce peptides. Zentide’s unique selling point is its ability to build peptides without the limitations of chemical methods, meaning researchers can produce difficult peptides at a lower economic and environmental cost.

Zentide was engineered by researchers from BrisSynBio, the University of Bristol’s Synthetic Biology Research Centre, using Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst funding from BBSRC and Innovate UK. Early products included an adhesive peptide for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, and the team are now creating surgical and dressing adhesives for healthcare.

Further BBSRC funding supported commercialisation of the technology, leading to the establishment of spin-out company Zentraxa in 2017. Zentraxa have since secured a total of £500,000 private investment.

Key impacts

  • The new bacterial peptide synthesis technique is greener, more efficient, and can produce new peptides that cannot be manufactured by other means.
  • The technique is being used to create adhesive peptides with possible medical and defence applications.
  • “We’ll eventually be able to produce larger quantities than anyone’s been able to manage before, and also at lower cost, meaning that there’ll be new markets for peptides,” Dr Martin Challand, co-founder and CTO of Zentraxa

Read the full impact evidence report: