Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc., the Michigan-based research group best known for its innovative research in genetic engineering for the production of spider silk, is representative of what some are saying will be the 21st century’s most important scientific and industrial movement, biotechnology. Reflecting this is the fact that biotechnology, loosely defined as the application of advanced microbiological sciences for industrial or health objectives, is still the darling of venture capitalists.

According to a Reuters article by David Lawsky, “Biotechnology leapt ahead as the biggest recipient of U.S. venture capital money in the second quarter”, indicating that “the venture capital industry put $3.67 billion into 612 separate companies or deals during the second quarter, of which $1.5 billion involved first time funding”, though the article went on to say that funding was still well below levels earlier in the decade.

The article quoted Tracy Lefteroff, the head of PricewaterhouseCoopers venture capital practice, as saying that the reason for the growth in biotechnology funding was obvious — there are more acquisitions and initial public offerings in life sciences. “Life sciences is one of the few sectors that has a regular stream of exit events,” Tracy Lefteroff said in a conference call. “If you’re an investor in a venture fund you’re going to put your money where you believe you have the best chance to get liquidity. At this point, life science is looking to be fairly attractive compared to the other areas.”

Kraig Biocraft is unique in biotechnology, in that it is using genetic engineering to produce commercially viable spider silk, something that has never been done before. Their groundbreaking work involves the insertion into silkworms of DNA packets containing the unique gene sequence used by spiders to produce silk. Since Kraig Biocraft first obtained the right to use the spider silk gene sequence in this particular field of research, they have made remarkable progress with the insertion process.

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