Resilin: The Elastic Biomaterial Shaping Tomorrow’s Products and Technologies


Imagine an elastic-like protein that is found in the natural world, but is so strong, flexible, and sustainable that it can be used in a multitude of industries, from cosmetics to cars and even footwear.

One Israeli startup is so convinced of the potential of resilin, which is found in insects, that it has begun to engineer it in the lab and is now preparing to mass produce it.

“Resilin is an elastic biomaterial and the world’s most resilient material in nature,” Lena Ishkov, Product and Tech Project Manager at Smart Resilin, shares. Ishkov explains that today, the market for elastomers (natural or artificial materials that can return to their original state after being stretched) is dominated by synthetic materials that are “not close” to being biodegradable or environmentally friendly. “So we come in with our resilin,” she says. “What we are trying to solve is to replace current elastomers with natural elastomers like ours. That’s our mission.”

Resilin is found in many insects, including dragonflies and cicadas, primarily in the joints between their bodies and their wings, and according to Smart Resilin CEO Gilad Lando, is the reason why they can jump so high and take flight so well and so often. “Imagine how efficient this joint is so that it doesn’t break,” Lando elaborates.

He says that there have been multiple attempts to mass produce resilin for commercial purposes, but until Smart Resilin developed its own proprietary method, no method had been successful. “Big companies have tried to produce it,” Lando says, “but we do it in a very smart way.”

The company’s method – developed by its chief technology officer and founder, Prof. Oded Shoseyov of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – is to isolate the DNA in a fly that is responsible for the production of resilin. This DNA is then infused into a bacteria, water and sugar are added, and the entire compound placed into a reactor to reproduce, in a way that Lando compares to using yeast to brew beer.

After several hours, the newly created bacteria – infused with resilin DNA and now filling the reactor – are given what Lando calls a “chemical signal” and they begin to produce the resilin itself. The bacteria are then “exploded” to separate out the resilin for extraction. No insects are harmed in the process, he stresses.

At present, the company is able to produce around 500 grams of resilin a month. While still not sufficient for the commercial purposes it envisions, it is still a hundredfold more than previous efforts in the lab have yielded. Lando believes that in association with Smart Resilin’s partner in Slovenia, biotech development company Acies Bio, the startup can scale up to produce a ton of resilin per month by the end of 2026. This, he explains, will dramatically bring down the price of the resilin, making it suitable for a wide range of functions.

After it has been stretched, resilin returns to its original state in nanoseconds while expending very little energy, Lando explains. Because of that, he says, it has the potential for “really amazing” applications. The partnership will make Smart Resilin’s technology available to Acies Bio to develop and deliver resilin at scale for sustainable applications in a multitude of industries, from beauty to aerospace.

The company…..

Smart Resilin, the company that produces resilin proteins through genetic engineering, announced in 2023 that it was joining forces with Acies Bio, Europe’s leading biotechnology company, to establish a joint company. The joint venture pairs Smart Resilin’s cutting-edge technology with Acies Bio’s advanced capabilities in genetic, microbiological and large-scale development to bring a multi-deployment resilin to market as an environmentally beneficial game changer across all industries.

The deal comes as nations and industries try to meet the Paris Agreement goals, which aim to limit global warming by 1.5 degrees. Materials science is making significant headway in making the planet cleaner. However, major advancements need to be made in commercializing environmentally-friendly materials, which is often a significant obstacle for researchers and startups as sustainable products are typically more expensive to manufacture than their counterparts.

Recombinant structural proteins, such as resilin, are promising alternatives to conventional synthetic plastics due to their thermal and mechanical properties and potential for biodegradability. Most recombinant proteins produced for industries today are silk-based, which has a significantly lower return of energy than resilin, making it considerably less resilient: resilin has ~92% resilience, whereas silk has ~35%. Furthermore, resilin has an effective production process that is inexpensive and easier to produce.

Based on research by the world-leading Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor, Prof Oded Shoseyov, and headed by CEO Dr. Liron Nesiel, Smart Resilin will turn the company’s successful proof-of-concept into a reality. With applications across industries from athletic footwear to haircare products and even the aerospace industry, the companies aim to provide their non-toxic, bio-degradable protein for various potential products.

“Our venture with Acies Bio is an exciting and monumental step forwards in beginning the steps to implement our resilin material in numerous industries and products,” says Dr. Liron Nesiel, CEO and head researcher at Smart Resilin. “Acies Bio’s expertise is unrivaled, proof being in the quality of their facilities, the scale of their projects, and the grants and funding they have received. Now Smart Resilin can put its successful proof-of-concept into practice and become a game changer for multiple applications. We are excited to begin our work with Acies Bio, making our material an easy and intuitive option for any business.”

“Partnering with Smart Resilin was an easy choice once we became aware of the near-perfect elasticity and resilience of the resilin and the prototypes of products that they have created,” says Dr. Štefan Fujs, CEO of Acies Bio. “Companies across the globe are looking for practical, easy, and commercially-available ways to make their products and processes environmentally friendly, all while maintaining a high-quality product. Smart Resilin’s technology makes this a reachable reality for producers, and we are looking forward to being a part of the production and commercialization of this novel product.”

Smart Resilin is the first to provide access to resilin protein, a super-performing material for various applications. Founded in 2017 by Michael Tunis and Shmil Sachar, with research by Dr. Liron Nesiel and Prof Oded Shoseyov, the company is bringing an environmentally friendly, easily commercialized raw material to the market. Having near-perfect elasticity, resilin can be implemented within a wide range of products such as elastic adhesives, sports goods, flexible screens, hair straightening, 3D printing, etc. Resilin can replace plastic, nylon, and rubber in many products. As a non-toxic, degradable protein, resilin-based products are environmentally beneficial game changers. Smart Resilin has established POC in different applications and collaborated with prominent market players.

Visit the Smart Resilin website for more information: Smart Resilin

Acies Bio is a leading European microbial biotechnology company developing new bioproducts and sustainable production processes, from ideation to 10 m3 fermentation volume. In 15 years since its foundation, the company’s staff of more than 100 scientists has developed numerous industrial technologies and bioprocesses using Acies Bio’s SmartRoute platform, leveraging its integrated, end-to-end R&D capabilities, proprietary chassis strains, and streamlined project management. Key activities include algorithm-supported strain design and media development, automated microfluidics-supported ultra-high throughput strain selection and optimization of precision fermentation processes and isolation of final products. Acies’ horizontal technology platforms have so far supported more than 60 industrial partners and customers from diverse market segments, including agriculture, food & feed, biomaterials and chemicals & pharmaceuticals segments.

Visit the Acies Bio website for more information: Acies Bio

Resilin is a protein-based biopolymer, which makes it an ideal candidate for replacing traditional synthetic materials such as plastics, rubber, and other elastomers. This naturally occurring protein has unique properties that make it an excellent material for a wide range of applications. The development and commercialization of resilin as a sustainable alternative to synthetic materials is a significant advancement in materials science, offering solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges.

The potential applications of resilin are vast and diverse, ranging from biomedical devices to everyday consumer goods. For instance, in the medical field, resilin can be used to create more durable and flexible implants, reducing the need for frequent replacements and surgeries. Its biocompatibility and non-toxic nature make it an ideal material for use in medical devices and implants.

In the automotive industry, resilin can be used to produce more durable and flexible components, leading to lighter and more fuel-efficient vehicles. This can contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions and the overall environmental impact of the automotive industry. Similarly, in the aerospace industry, resilin’s lightweight and resilient properties can lead to more efficient and durable aircraft components, enhancing performance and reducing maintenance costs.

The sports and fitness industry can also benefit from the unique properties of resilin. For example, resilin can be used to create more durable and flexible athletic footwear, improving performance and reducing the risk of injury. In addition, resilin-based materials can be used to produce more effective and durable sports equipment, enhancing the overall experience for athletes.

The fashion and textile industry is another area where resilin can make a significant impact. The production of flexible and durable textiles using resilin can lead to the creation of more sustainable and environmentally friendly clothing. This can help reduce the environmental footprint of the fashion industry, which is known for its high levels of waste and pollution.

Furthermore, the cosmetics industry can benefit from the unique properties of resilin. For example, resilin can be used to create more flexible and durable hair care products, such as hair straighteners and curling irons. This can lead to better performance and longer-lasting results for consumers, while also reducing the environmental impact of these products.

The potential of resilin extends beyond these industries, offering solutions for a wide range of applications. For instance, resilin can be used to create more flexible and durable electronic components, such as flexible screens and sensors. This can lead to the development of more advanced and efficient electronic devices, enhancing the overall user experience.

The development and commercialization of resilin as a sustainable alternative to synthetic materials is a significant advancement in materials science, offering solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges. The collaboration between Smart Resilin and Acies Bio is a testament to the potential of resilin and its ability to revolutionize a wide range of industries.

As the demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly materials continues to grow, the development and commercialization of resilin will play a crucial role in meeting this demand. The unique properties of resilin, combined with its potential for mass production, make it an ideal candidate for replacing traditional synthetic materials.

In conclusion, the potential of resilin as a sustainable alternative to synthetic materials is immense. Its unique properties make it an ideal candidate for a wide range of applications, from medical devices to consumer goods. The collaboration between Smart Resilin and Acies Bio is a significant step towards the commercialization of resilin, offering solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges. The development and commercialization of resilin as a sustainable alternative to synthetic materials will play a crucial role in meeting the growing demand for environmentally friendly materials. The future of resilin is bright, and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries is undeniable.

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