Cell-free protein production convinces at pitch

Cell-free protein production convinces at pitch

The Kykeon Biotech team wins the audience award of the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg.

Vincenzo De Rocchis, Wilhelm Gossing und Martin Kern
The team of Kykeon Biotech with Vincenzo De Rocchis, Wilhelm Gossing and Martin Kern has won the audience award at the pitch of the start-up service of the Brandenburg TU Cottbus-Senftenberg.

The prize money of 300 euros is rather symbolic, but attention is guaranteed: Kykeon Biotech won the "Founders' Pitch" of the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) on November 10, 2021. The young team convinced the twelve investors and more than 120 online viewers with its process for the cell-free production of artificial proteins. They had to share the audience award with 'Inflatable Lunar Habitat', a project that designed a portable and inflatable research tent for use on the moon.

The many advantages of cell-free protein synthesis

Kykeon Biotech explains that its own process "combines the advantages of all other protein production systems without being limited by their disadvantages." Martin Kern, who along with Vincenzo Rocchis and Wilhelm Gossing makes up the Kykeon Biotech team, promises, "Through our innovations in cell-free protein synthesis, we aim to make the production of recombinant proteins more sustainable and efficient, so that important diagnostic tests, including corona tests, become more economical and ecological."

Focus on drugs and diagnostics

The researchers are not relying on cell cultures, but on naturally occurring plant biomasses from which recombinant proteins are produced in a cell-free environment.These would form the basis for producing drugs such as insulin more sustainably. The cell-free process would also be easier to control and more productive, but still needs to be further developed until it is ready for the market. Currently, potential investors are particularly interested in the possibility of using the cell-free process to produce recombinant proteins for diagnostic tests more economically and ecologically. 

Only start-up idea from the bioeconomy

Kykeon Biotech was the only one of eight teams at the event with a start-up idea from the bioeconomy. The researchers have been funded by an EXIST start-up grant since January 2021. The event, held on the occasion of the opening of the innovation and start-up center Startblock B in Cottbus, was intended to give students, employees and alumni of BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and TH Wildau the opportunity to draw attention to their start-up ideas and to talk to investors and advisors.