Kraig Biocraft to develop spider silk factory in Vietnam

Source:  Wyoming Business Report


LANSING, Mich. – Spider silk technology that spun its first web at the University of Wyoming is going international.
Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, which partnered with UW and the University of Notre Dame to genetically engineer silkworms to produce spider silk, expects to sign and announce a landmark spider silk production agreement with the country of Vietnam.
Spider silk has a number of unusual physical properties, including much higher tensile strength and elasticity than plain old silk. Spider-silk fibers have many current and possible biomedical applications, such as improved wound bandages and fine suture materials. The material is strong enough that it’s also being considered for ligament repair or replacement. Other uses include bulletproof vests, structural fabrics and automobile airbags.
Until the development of silkworms that could create spider silk, only very small quantities of spider silk was produced artificially in laboratories. Notre Dame’s Malcom Fraser Jr. worked with University of Wyoming researcher Randy Lewis, a biochemist who is one of the world’s foremost authorities on spider silk, and Don Jarvis, a noted molecular geneticist who specializes in insect protein production, genetically engineered silkworms in which they incorporated specific DNA taken from spiders.
Kraig’s CEO, Kim Thompson, is in Vietnam meeting with numerous government officials and corporate leaders to discuss setting up the world’s first comprehensive commercial spider-silk production facilities.
The move is part of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s development of a high-tech industries platform.