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Asics Ventures Invests in Synthetic Spider Silk Startup

Asics Corp.’s investment subsidiary, Asics Ventures, has invested in Seevix Material Sciences Ltd., which produces patented man-made spider silk.

Dubbed SVX, the material possesses natural spider silk’s superior strength, elasticity and durability, while also being sustainable and biodegradable. Seevix manufactures SVX through biomimicry in a controlled fermenter-based process.

SVX is a bio protein functional silk, with sustainability characteristics inherent in the fiber’s natural properties to create thinner, lighter and tougher products on a commercial scale. Seevix and the ASICS Institute of Sport Science will jointly develop sporting goods utilizing SVX spider silk.

Asics said one of the core strategies in its medium-term management plan is to “create differentiated innovation.” Asics has continued to introduce advanced technologies into its products to improve both sustainability and functionality, and has shifted to sustainable materials, including those deriving from biotechnology, by collaborating with external partners.

By resequencing the spider silk gene and controlling its cellular micro-environment, Seevix is able to induce the fiber’s spontaneous self-assembly on a commercial scale. Seevix said this critical capability endows the fiber with superior natural properties and enables their integration into new composite materials.

Asics said it aims to contribute to a circular economy while creating innovative products, services and processes that significantly change customers’ lifestyles and experiences.

Asics Ventures’ recent activities include taking a stake in Spanish startup Pyrates to launch an ecologically sustainable seven-piece yoga capsule collection in Europe. Pyrates has developed fabrics with high environmental performance and social consideration by using natural bio-degradable dyes derived from plants and minerals.

Asics Ventures, based in Kobe, Japan, has an investment budget of 3 billion yen ($28 million) aimed at promoting business development with startup companies.

Based on more than a decade of academic research performed at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Seevix was founded in 2014 to revolutionize material science by using spider silk’s natural properties to create high-performance products and materials.