Brooks Biomimetics Awarded Grant for Spider Silk Research
Researchers Amanda and Ben Brooks were recently awarded a $100,000 grant to study spider silk spinning. The Venture Grant program is awarded to researchers each year by the State of North Dakota and is designed to help move university-developed technology into the marketplace through startup or spinout companies. Spiders and their silks have long provoked a sense of intrigue in both popular culture and the scientific community. Amanda and Ben Brooks started Brooks Biomimetics, LLC, with the intension of developing synthetic, high performance biomimetic spider silk fiber. The long-term goal of Brooks Biomimetics is to engineer an artificial spinning device that mimics the spider’s natural spinning for the commercial production of turnable silk fibers. extrusion system to create turnable high performance fibers. The market size for general silk was estimated to be $5 billion dollars. Spider silk -- by weight three times tougher than Kevlar and five times stronger than steel, possesses antimicrobial properties, and remains inert in the body (suitable for coating implants or artificial tendons/ligaments) -- would be “a double-digit million-dollar market” niche in the whole of the silk market. With these properties, spider silk is poised to overtake other silks in the market and to expand into unique applications such as cables, sutures, bullet proof vests, fishing line, high performance sportswear, wound repair patches, etc. Unfortunately, this potential is untapped as no one is able to produce a reasonable facsimile of spider silk; all are substantially lacking in performance. Currently, none of the six competing companies or technologies appear to be on the cusp of solving the problem. Brooks Biomimetics’ technology approaches the problem by integrating both chemical and physical production in a way that no one else does. This represents a radical improvement over all competitors, setting us up to potentially dominate this emerging market. Amanda Brooks is a world-renowned researcher in the Fargo, ND area.
Inside Business: Spider silk products focus of new Fargo business By Dave Olsonon Dec 26, 2015 at 1:04 a.m.
FARGO — A fledgling business called Brooks Biomimetics LLC has leased space in the Eastside Terminal at Hector International Airport. The business, which is still in the startup stage, will explore various commercial uses of spider silk, said Benjamin Brooks, who owns the business with his wife, Amanda, a researcher at North Dakota State University. Benjamin Brooks said his wife has studied spider silk for many years and the business will take that research even further. He said there are many potential applications of spider silk, from medical uses like sutures and ligament replacement, to fishing line and bullet-proof vests. He said right now the business is setting up office space, but eventually they hope to expand its footprint as the enterprise grows.