ANN ARBOR–Kraig Biocraft Laboratories has completed the hatching of the second generation of its genetically engineered silkworms as it expands production at its breeding grounds and silk production centers in Quang Nam province, Vietnam.
Company officials said that its Vietnamese subsidiary, Prodigy Textiles, would use the cocoons produced in this breeding cycle to begin its first commercial shipments of super-strong spider silk.
Kraig has genetically engineered silkworms with genes from spiders, so that they produce silk for their cocoons with the strength and durability of spiderweb fibers.
Kraig officials said that this latest generation of silkworms will begin spinning cocoons over the next two weeks, with this batch of specialized silk expected to be completed by Christmas. This cycle represents the largest single month’s production of recombinant spider silk in the company’s history.
The company will be sending its COO, Jon Rice, to Vietnam to oversee the completion of this second generation. During this trip, Rice will work with the Prodigy team, as it prepares to convert the resulting cocoons into finished silk yarn. Rice will also set the stage for further expansion with the next production cycle slated to begin in early January.
“The smooth transition from our first production batch to this much larger second generation is a testament to the quality of the great team we have put together in Vietnam,” said Rice. “I look forward to working hand in hand with them, later this month, to plan out the next phase of our rapid growth and to implement additional processes to support our expanding operations.”
“The pace of our production scale up is exceeding even my expectations,” said CEO and founder Kim Thompson. “We’ve always believed that once we launched production in Vietnam that our growth would be rapid. Today’s announcement that we have begun the second production cycle is another in a series of exciting milestones for spider silk commercialization and Kraig Labs.”
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