KAIROS Scientific Inc., a leading biotechnology company in the fields of digital imaging spectroscopy and protein engineering, today announced that it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant will be used to accelerate the development of novel enzymes (biological catalysts). As part of the ongoing research, KAIROS will employ its patented Kcat Technology(TM) for directed evolution, which is a laboratory process whereby enzyme molecules are optimized to perform desirable chemical reactions. These enzymes, known as cellulases, selectively degrade cellulose fibers derived from wood, plant material and recycled paper.
The enzymes will be customized for greater stability and resistance to common inhibitors, thus making them more economically viable for use in industry. Engineered cellulases may be applied to papermaking, recycling and the efficient conversion of agricultural waste into ethanol for fuel. The pulp and paper industry can use enhanced cellulases to reduce electricity consumption and other processing costs. Reduced electricity consumption may lower greenhouse gas emissions and pollution related to fossil fuel usage. Thus, KAIROS technology could advance the goals of industrial energy savings and the development of alternative fuels.
“We are pleased that this grant will enable us to bring our innovative methods and screening instrumentation into the bioproducts industry,” said Mary M. Yang, Ph.D., KAIROS’ company president. “Our Kcat Technology(TM) has a broad spectrum of applications in improving the performance of industrial enzymes for biomass conversion, specialty chemical manufacturing and pharmaceutical synthesis. It can also be used for enhancing the properties of therapeutic enzymes and the production of pharmaceutical proteins. By demonstrating the usefulness of our technology for biomass processing, we will be able to extend the number of key industries in which we can contribute customized, biotechnology-based solutions,” said Yang.
About KAIROS Scientific
KAIROS Scientific Inc. develops instrumentation, computer algorithms, and molecular biology methods to solve challenging problems in the biopharmaceutical and chemical industries. KAIROS innovations have been widely recognized, and the company has been awarded more than 20 government (NASA, NIH, DOE and NSF) grants and contracts. The company’s proprietary technologies and collaborative spirit have attracted numerous commercial clients, including companies involved in chemical manufacturing (diversified, agricultural and specialty) as well as biotech/diagnostics. Kcat Technology(TM) is a solid-phase, high-throughput screening system for engineering novel enzymes and proteins, re-designing metabolic pathways, improving microbial host strains and discovering new microorganisms. Kcat Technology(TM) enables individual users to create enzymes and organisms that are customized to suit their own performance criteria.
Source: Genetic Engineering News Oct. 04, 2005.