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Spider Silk Manufacturer to Open At Least Two More Production Plants

Kraig Biocraft Laboratories is poised to ramp up its production of spider silk-based fibers.

The U.S. biotechnology firm said Monday that it would open more than one additional production location, including domestic options, which would operate in parallel to its previously announced operation in Vietnam.

Known for achieving a series of material science breakthroughs using its genetic engineering technologies, such as the patent-pending Dragon Silk fiber it’s claimed is stronger and more flexible than native spider silk, Kraig’s plans for Vietnam—announced in March—include forming a subsidiary and opening an advanced hybrid silk research and pilot production plant there.

The firm said that additional sites will allow its labs to “more rapidly fulfill outstanding material requests” from both its collaboration partners and prospective clients for recombinant spider silk fibers.

“Although securing a healthy supply of suitable mulberry leaves to establish our domestic production is a challenge, I believe that this initiative will yield many benefits, including enhancement of our R&D efforts,” Jon Rice, chief operating officer, stated. “Additionally, some of our end users may require that certain fibers are produced domestically, so this move places us ahead of that curve.”

In the most recent quarter, Kraig completed the creation of an entirely new set of genetically engineered silkworms, which included four district lines, using the most complex and detailed genetic designs in its history. According to a company newsletter, these designs (some of which took nearly 12 months to perfect) are targeted to more closely match the protein configuration of certain native spider silks.

In addition, Kraig also produced a new genetic insertion design that merges the elasticity of Monster Silk with the strength of Dragon Silk in a single construction.