Press releases
5 March 2024, Zwingenberg / Neuried (Germany)

Collaboration between BRAIN Biotech and AMSilk: Protein engineering successfully improves structural proteins for performance materials

  • First patent application registered
  • BRAIN Biotech relies on protein engineering expertise and bioinformatics for rational protein design

BRAIN Biotech AG, leading provider of solutions for the biologization of industry, and AMSilk GmbH, a global leader in advanced materials made from spider silk-based proteins, announce the successful completion of the first phase of a development collaboration. After a year of working together, they have specifically optimized a natural structural protein and subsequently registered the first PCT patent (“Patent Cooperation Treaty”) for this process.

The aim of the collaboration is to advance the development of high-performance protein-based fibers for the performance materials market, with the specific properties of these structural proteins being optimized for various high-performance fields of application in the textile sector. In addition to the economic dimension, both companies pursue a common strategic goal: of building a more sustainable future through bio-based solutions in the textile industry.

AMSilk has developed a wide range of use cases for its spider silk-based proteins, from developing the leading spinning process for silk protein fibers, to transforming proteins into silk beads, gels and solutions to unlock the power of their coating effects. Due to its unique combination of strength and flexibility, spider silk is the gold standard of bioindustrial materials. AMSilk's recombinant proteins are wholly biodegradable, can be fully recycled and contain no traces of microplastics. AMSilk's silk protein-based fibers set completely new standards within the apparel industry. They offer extremely broad performance characteristics and are also a high-quality alternative with low CO2 consumption compared to other natural or fossil-based materials.

The structural proteins underlying AMSilk’s protein fibers can be modified at the amino acid level using BRAIN Biotech's technologies so that the products can be tailored to specific market requirements.

The success of this strategic R&D collaboration is based on the use of BRAIN Biotech’s rational design in protein engineering. Using this technology, BRAIN Biotech has built a successful track record over many years in the enzyme technology unit at Zwingenberg. BRAIN Biotech had already successfully used its protein engineering strategy in the development of a variety of protein and enzyme products in order to tailor them for industrial applications. In addition to AMSilk’s scientific expertise in the field of spider silk-based proteins, AMSilk also contributes an understanding of customer and market requirements. The results of the collaboration that have now been achieved show once again that the applied scientific strategy can lead to completely new products.

Dr. Alexander Pelzer, Head of Research & Development at BRAIN Biotech at the Zwingenberg site, emphasizes: “Our successful rational protein engineering is based on the combination of two factors: the experience of our team – in conjunction with sequencing and structure-based bioinformatics methods, including AI predictions. The strategic R&D partnership with AMSilk is an excellent example of the power of our protein engineering pipeline.”

Pelzer cites powerful bioinformatics including the various AI approaches used by the experienced protein engineering experts at BRAIN Biotech as the basis for protein engineering, tailoring their approach to each specific inquiry. Drawing on the profound experience of their team, suggested optimizations are then implemented using molecular biology and tested in the laboratory. After successfully producing and characterizing these structural proteins on a milliliter scale, BRAIN Biotech scales up the top candidates in a fermenter on a liter scale, making them available to AMSilk for application testing.

Alexander Pelzer adds: “Many of the protein fibers that we have designed and manufactured at BRAIN Biotech showed greatly improved properties in real applications. We are very pleased that once again we have been able to contribute to the success of a customer – in this case AMSilk.”

Gudrun Vogtentanz, Chief Scientific Officer at AMSilk, says about the cooperation: “Together with BRAIN Biotech, we are bringing tailor-made material solutions to the market that not only meet the needs of customers but are sustainable. This will enable us to revolutionize the performance materials market in the long term, which is currently dominated by fossil-based textiles. With their years of protein engineering expertise and with our common vision, BRAIN Biotech is an ideal fit as a development partner.”



BRAIN Biotech AG is a leading European supplier of bio-based products and solutions such as enzymes and proteins, microbial production strains, natural compounds and biotechnological solutions for more sustainable industrial processes. The company focuses on the fields of nutrition, health and environment.

BRAIN Biotech AG is the parent company of the international BRAIN Biotech Group. The Group's business activities are divided into three segments: The BioProducts segment comprises the product business with specialty enzymes and other proteins, for which the Group operates fermentation facilities in the United Kingdom and production facilities in continental Europe and the United States. The BioScience segment offers research-intensive custom solutions based on enzyme technology, strain development, bioprocess development and natural product screening. The BioIncubator segment conducts its own R&D projects or those initiated with partners with high value-added potential. A particularly promising incubator project is the development of the Company's own CRISPR-based gene editing technology platform, which is currently being established and expanded by Akribion Genomics (in foundation planning).

Through its own R&D activities, BRAIN Biotech Group is continuously expanding its product portfolio in the field of specialty enzymes and small molecules. The latter are the starting point for screenings, e.g. for novel drug candidates for pharmaceutical applications.

BRAIN Biotech AG has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since February 9, 2016 (ticker symbol: BNN; securities identification number: ISIN DE0005203947 / WKN 520394). The company employs approximately 330 people and generated revenues of EUR 55,3 million in the fiscal year 2022/23.

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About AMSilk

AMSilk is a global leader in advanced materials made from spider silk-based proteins. AMSilk’s spider silk-based proteins are wholly biodegradable and biocompatible. Based on renewable plant based feedstock, they do not contain any substances of animal origin and come with a CO2 greenhouse gas emission reduction of up to 90% and more than 90% less land and water use compared to other protein fibers. Their high-performance qualities enable a wide range of applications in the textile, homecare, biomedical, and automobile industries.

AMSilk’s truly sustainable materials outperform existing, fossil-based products not only through their optimal relationship between performance and positive environmental impact, but also through the adaptability of multiple benefits to a broad range of meaningful applications. AMSilk aims to expand the use of its biobased, biodegradable, recyclable, and biocompatible products, reducing dependence on the natural resources of the planet. The Company has already collaborated with industry-leading global companies and plans to continue partnering with influential worldwide enterprises in its vision to make high performance materials for a sustainable future. For more information, please visit

AMSilk Media Contact:
Isabel Rosenberger
Senior Manager Marketing & Communications
Tel. +49 151 610 632 69

Optimum Strategic Communications
Nick Bastin, Vici Rabbetts, Katie Flint
Tel: +44 203 922 1906


This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements reflect the current views, expectations, and assumptions of the management of BRAIN Biotech AG, and are based on information currently available to the management. Forward-looking statements are no guarantees of future performance, and entail both known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Numerous factors exist that could influence the future performance of and future developments at BRAIN Biotech AG and the BRAIN Biotech Group. Such factors include, but are not limited to, changes in the general economic and competitive environment, risks associated with capital markets, currency exchange rate fluctuations, changes in international and national laws and regulations, in particular with respect to tax laws and regulations, as well as other factors. BRAIN Biotech AG does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

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