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US DOE selects eight biomanufacturing R&D projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of eight projects totaling over US$5 million to conduct research and development (R&D) needed to accelerate the US biomanufacturing sector.

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The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the selection of eight projects totaling over US$5 million to conduct research and development (R&D) needed to accelerate the US biomanufacturing sector.

Part of the Agile BioFoundry (ABF) consortium, these projects will leverage National Laboratory capabilities to address challenges in biomanufacturing.

DOE has selected the following projects:

  • C16 Biosciences, New York (NY), will work with Pacific Northwest and Sandia National Laboratories to engineer fatty acid synthesis in Rhodosporidium toruloides to produce sustainable replacements for palm oil.
  • Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina (SC), will address common challenges in the reliability of industrial yeast fermentation, important for a wide range of products.
  • LanzaTech, Inc., Skokie, Illinois (IL), will advance the field of synthetic biology by building solutions to more efficiently and quickly engineer production hosts at a reduced cost.
  • White Dog Labs, New Castle, Delaware (DE), will elucidate the specific changes microbes undergo during the continuous, cell-retention process, using the isopropanol-producing strain, Clostridium ljungdahlii, as a model system.
    Kalion, Inc., Milton, Massachusetts (MA), will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to lower growth media production costs, increase productivity, and increase the overall commercial feasibility of biomanufacturing, with glucaric acid production as their model.
  • Danimer Scientific, Bainbridge, Georgia (GA), will use ABF’s Learn tools and systems’ biology capabilities to produce tunable combinations of polyhydroxyalkanoates with different chain lengths, enabling new biodegradable plastics with novel properties.
  • Invaio, Cambridge, Massachusetts (MA), will develop an efficient bioprocess for the industrial production of an antimicrobial peptide, which could prove revolutionary for agriculture and add to ABF’s core capabilities.
  • Enduro Genetics, Inc., Copenhagen, Denmark, will use its “product addiction” technology in industrial host organisms to demonstrate its ability to agnostically improve product titer, rate, and yield.

Each of the ABF Directed Funding Opportunity awardees will be invited to collaborate with National Lab research facilities to conduct their proposed research. Seed awards provide up to US$500 000 in DOE funds to the labs for up to two years. Full awards are up to US$2 million and three years.

This assistance by the National Laboratories will aim to develop novel microbial hosts and bioproducts, use cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning in synthetic biology, and address the problem of production heterogeneity in industrial microbiology. Each of the awardees has committed to a minimum 20 percent cost-share contribution.

Sponsored by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), the ABF aims to advance biomanufacturing by uniting and expanding the capabilities of the National Laboratories to develop a robust, agile biomanufacturing platform accessible to researchers across the private and public sectors.

ABF partners include Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and more than a dozen university and industry partners.

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