Biotech firm Insempra has announced a strategic investment in Solena Materials, a producer of synthetic proteins for high-performance clothing fibers.
Solena is a spinoff from Imperial College London and uses computational design to develop new proteins. The investment from Insempra will accelerate this development and make it possible to produce the proteins on an industrial scale.
“We look forward to fast-tracking Solena’s development and production of their unique synthetic proteins”
The aim is to create alternatives to both non-biodegradable petrochemically-derived textiles and animal-derived materials such as silk. This will have environmental benefits, including the reduction of microplastics in water — a common consequence of washing conventionally-produced synthetic textiles.
As consumer concerns about animal welfare and plastic pollution continue to rise, many companies in the fashion and textile industries are turning towards bio-based solutions. These can be very diverse, ranging from sneakers made with plant-based plastic to sustainable bio-colourants.
“We are hugely excited by this investment in Solena, which will help to accelerate our market-first approach to develop superior, intrinsically sustainable ingredients,” said Jens Klein, founder and CEO of Insempra and CEO of Solena Materials. “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.”
Insempra is a co-founder of Solena and will be the sole contributing shareholder in the company.