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AI Alchemy: Unleashing a Biotechnological Renaissance in Textile Dyeing

Biomanufacturing, Chemicals & Materials
Funding & Investments
Consumer Goods
by
|
October 24, 2023

Colorifix, the world’s first company to use an entirely biological process to produce, deposit, and fix pigments onto textiles, partners with Basecamp Research, the world leader in biological design by using the most detailed map of biodiversity to date. This ground-breaking collaboration aims to accelerate R&D processes through AI and computational modelling, in order to replace harsh chemicals, save energy and water, and change the way we dye our clothes.

Image Courtesy of Colorifix

This collaboration is focused on accelerating Colorifix’s development of new microbial dyes by designing enzymes that can catalyze challenging chemical steps in commercial production-scale conditions. Basecamp Research designs and assigns process-ready enzymes to any reaction, circumventing the need of evolution rounds and labor-intensive screening by using BaseGraph™, a pioneering AI-based protein design platform powered by the only high-resolution map of the planet’s genetic diversity.

Basecamp Research’s proprietary biodiversity mapping infrastructure connects biodiversity guardians with biotechnology companies across the globe and demonstrates how the biotech industry can give back to the origin countries of the genetic resources and data that enabled their commercial products, such as Colorifix’s innovative microbial colors. To achieve this, Basecamp Research shares royalties and non-monetary benefits that actively foster and enhance local research and conservation initiatives.

Costa Rica, a Winner of the 2021 Earthshot Prize to Protect and Restore Nature for their commitment and progress towards restoring all previously cleared forests, is the country where Basecamp Research has its biggest biodiversity partnership. Basecamp Research has provided scientists at CENIBiot- CeNAT, the National Center of Biotechnology Innovation, with laboratory equipment and training in cutting-edge metagenomic sampling techniques.

Image Courtesy of Coldhouse Collective

Working with CENIBiot, the collaboration between Basecamp Research and Colorifix could potentially develop commercial products using data derived from Costa Rica’s biodiversity, all within a compliant and traceable infrastructure.

“We’ve seen first-hand how textile mills dump waste into water systems that serve local communities. The industry is using at least 70 toxic chemicals in the dyeing process – and that’s why Colorifix is working so hard to offer our customers sustainable and economically attractive alternatives,” said Professor Jim Ajioka, Chief Scientific Officer at Colorifix. “We look forward to seeing how Basecamp Research’s unique computational approach and access to previously undiscovered biodiversity from countries like Costa Rica can accelerate our dye development cycles and supercharge our expansion”.

“Costa Rica, despite representing only 0.03% of the global landmass, boasts an astounding 5% of the planet's biodiversity [1]. Approximately 25% of the country's land area is designated as protected.” Dr. Randall Loaiza, Director of CENIBiot, emphasizes, "We have always believed that the conservation of our precious and diverse ecosystems will serve as the cornerstone for our country's economic future. In the past year, we have collaborated with Basecamp Research to gain a deeper understanding and develop innovative approaches for benefit sharing and the commercialization of genetic resources. Weare thrilled to be part of Basecamp Research’s global network, which connects us with forward-thinking companies like Colorifix, enabling us to work on new solutions for some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.”

“Colorifix is one of the most transformative biotech companies that consumers should be aware of, and Costa Rica is world-leading in their vision for biodiversity preservation, restoration and development. We’re thrilled to be collaborating with two top-ranked members of Earthshot Prize community on cutting- edge science that delivers an immediate environmental impact as well as physical products that everyone can touch and feel,” said Dr Oliver Vince, co-founder of Basecamp Research. “Combining the expertise of our two companies and the biodiversity data from Costa Rica and beyond, this partnership will showcase how building a trusted, global system for collaboration can accelerate the translation of learnings from nature into more nature-friendly processes.”

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