TechBio innovator spotlight: Constructive Bio

Constructive Bio logo

Constructive Bio is headquartered in Cambridge since 2022. Interview with CEO, Ola Wlodek and Head of R&D, Daniel de la Torre

What does the company do?

Constructive Bio is recoding biology to design novel organisms, molecules and products. Their platform reprograms the fundamental protein translation process, turning cells into bio-renewable factories for producing novel molecules that nature could not make before. They are also rewriting new genomes from scratch to engineer unnatural polymers.

"Nature has this amazing system for creating very complex polymers in a completely programmable manner. DNA contains the set of instructions that cells use to make proteins, which are polymers, built of 20 different amino acid building blocks. We are repurposing this natural system to create new classes of polymers where we can genetically programme the sequence, order and identity of novel monomer building blocks, to discover new classes of therapeutics and biomaterials." - Daniel de la Torre, Head of R&D

How does the technology work and how will it be used?

Constructive Bio are pioneering approaches for building entirely synthetic genomes and for reprogramming the genetic code of living organisms for programmable polymer synthesis.

  • Genome synthesis: Constructive Bio’s REXER platform can assemble synthetic DNA at the megabase scale and implement it into biological systems, building entire genomes from scratch. The ability to rewrite entire genomes allows them to radically change the genetic code and equips the new synthetic cells with the necessary genetic software to enable new properties.
  • Encoded polymer synthesis: Constructive Bio’s polymer encoding system will explore unchartered chemical space, generating molecules and products with novel and valuable properties. The company is using DNA as a programming language for encoding novel polymers and can program the installation of complex, unnatural functionalities at defined positions within proteins. Constructive Bio is aiming to work with companies that require polymers for specific needs and will use their process to create cleaner and greener polymers than those formed through chemical synthesis. Examples of items that could be created include industrial anti-bacterial coatings or polyhydroxy-acids that are used in beauty products.

“Technology such as Crispr can do this to individual genes – however, our platform aims to be able to rewrite genomes at large scale. Recoded genomes are valuable tools and Constructive Bio is already creating phageresistant bacterial strains that can be used in different bioprocesses, such as the production of plasmid DNA for mRNA vaccines.” - Ola Wlodek, CEO

The future

"Possibly the most exciting thing from a TechBio perspective is that by developing our platform, we will also be able to learn the rules of how to write genomes of the future. We want to become a lead producer of unnatural polymer-making strains to create products where there is an industrial need, and help unleash a new era in the bioeconomy." - Ola Wlodek, CEO


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