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Biomanufacturing technologies — taking modified versions of existing organisms and bending them to the will of humans — has moved from the world of science fiction to becoming a new reality.
Across the startup landscape companies are launching to make synthetic spider silk, or make leather substitutes, or meat substitutes, or novel chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Companies - Organisms - Processes - Visions - Scale
What all of these companies have in common is that they need to be able to rapidly experiment with different organisms and processes for cultivating them to make their visions work at a commercial scale — and that’s where Culture Biosciences comes in.
The company was founded by two Chapel Hill, N.C. natives and Duke alums Matthew Ball and Will Patrick. The two met in college at Duke and worked together in Google’s famous skunkworks division (then known as Google X).
Google - Patrick - Company - Executive - MIT
After leaving Google, Patrick, the company’s chief executive, wound up at MIT’s Media Lab where he was exposed to the work that companies like Gingko Bioworks was doing around biomanufacturing and became convinced that it would be transformational by human society.
“I was becoming incredibly inspired by all of that,” says Patrick. “What I was noticing was that the problem and the bottleneck in the industry was moving from industrial design to scale-up.”
Solution - Bottleneck - Fermentation - Process - Patrick
The solution to that bottleneck rested in making the fermentation process more precise and more controlled, Patrick thought.
Think of biomanufacturing as a process similar to brewing beer. Organisms are sitting in a soup of goo, eating some things and excreting other things and all of that needs to be controlled. It’s one thing to be able to control the growth and extraction of goo in a test tube, quite another to do it at the scale of a hundred-gallon sized tanks.
Aspects - Operating - Bioreactors - Data - Patrick
“There are these really challenging aspects of operating bioreactors, sampling, and testing and getting data,” said Patrick...
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