ANN ARBOR – A US technology business which has established itself as the world’s foremost developer of spider silk fibres has been granted government permission to begin its operations in Vietnam. The announcement by Kraig Biocraft Laboratories takes the commercialisation of spider silk a step closer, after the company just recently unveiled the formation of its Vietnamese subsidiary, Prodigy Textiles, which will be its main production arm. Vietnam has been the focus of Kraig’s efforts to launch commercial scale production of recombinant spider silk, due to the country’s existing silk production infrastructure. Kraig claims it can produce its spider silk at prices similar to mundane silk.
Spider silk’s toughness is said to be ten times greater than steel, while some silks are nearly as elastic as rubber. According to some studies, spider silks can be two to three times tougher than even Kevlar, which explains why so many researchers have targeted this fibre for protective clothing and body armour applications, as well as other potential military applications including technical undergarments and more practical ropes.
“These licenses to operate in a traditional silk producing region are the most substantial milestones for Kraig Labs commercial development since the creation of our first spider silk transgenics,” said Kraig Labs founder and CEO, Kim Thompson. “Our teams in the USA and in Vietnam have been working closely with officials in Quang Nam province and with central government ministries to bring this long standing vision to reality.
“Our work to obtain these approvals has been driven by our goal of producing recombinant spider silk on a large scale, which can only be achieved by harnessing the opportunities presented by existing large scale silk production infrastructure,” stated Thompson.
“Today’s announcement is more than just a major milestone for the Company, it’s a revolutionary step in the commercialisation of spider silk,” added Jon Rice, Kraig Labs’ COO. “More than five years of hard work, meetings, and extensive legal and regulatory paperwork, have gone into securing these approvals and licenses. We now stand ready to change an entire industry.”