Automated Approaches to Cellular Engineering and Biomanufacturing

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014

$1MM

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Covitect Inc.
1120 Atlantis Ave
Lafayette, CO -
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Florida
339 Weil Hall
Gainsville, FL 32611
Institution POC

Abstract

Genome-scale predictable cellular design and engineering of biomanufacturing systems is the overarching goal of DARPA"s Living Foundries and 1000 Molecules programs and, if realized, will enable rapid engineering of living systems for a broad range of applications in biotechnology and pharmacology. However, constructing living cells with designed genome is an arduous task that is severely limited by inherent challenges in engineering biological systems reducibility and reproducibility. Parameters of the vast diversity of bioreactions networks (reaction pathways and kinetics) need to be established in well-controlled environments, in order to achieve robust predictability of design in the Living Foundries approach. To achieve such predictability, Covitect and its partners propose to use arrays of multiplexed in vitro membrane-microreactors interfaced with assays, which allow the rapid study of complex reaction networks in a controlled environment with excellent reproducibility, high throughput and low cost. The end goal of the proposed effort is to develop and commercialize an automated and scalable toolset for high-throughput in-vitro evaluation of parameters (i.e,"transfer functions"), as well as prototyping and testing/validation of performance screening of engineered pathways and"devices", which will enable predictable and reproducible cellular design and engineering.