- WeFunder campaign has been successfully and is due to close on August 9th
- Fragrant moss scale up proceeding on schedule, we’ve also found some interesting research on additional genes which can clean the air as well as make it smell well
- 5 of 6 bioluminescent genes successfully inserted into a plant, we are getting closer
- We lost a very interesting collaborative research agreement due to partner company suddenly entering chapter 11 bankruptcy, hopefully will get signed once they restructure
- New hire, James, who just finished his molecular biology PhD at UC Berkeley
Where we need your help:
- It’s the last week of our WeFunder campaign, please share the link (www.wefunder.com/taxa) with your networks
Our average monthly expenses are around $25,000, May was a little higher than average due to one off expenses related to the launch of the Wefunder campaign:
- May: $32,659
- June: $17,535
- July: $21,516
- Financial Runway: TBD as depends exactly what the WeFunder final total will be, however it should be more than enough to ship our fragrant moss
- Major (business) focus the last few months has been the WeFunder campaign which has reached it’s minimum investment and is due to close on August 9th. This investment, when it closes, will give us sufficient financial runway to hit our next key milestone which is shipping the fragrant moss.
- We have now completed the bioengineering work on the first flavor of the fragrant moss, which meets all the regulatory requirements for sale in the United States. We are now in the process of scaling up the volume of the moss so that we have enough to sell and distribute. In parallel we are also testing a number of different materials to grow the moss on. The moss grows particularly well on the sandstone material, but we are also still working on the recycled planter (link to more information on that:https://updates.wefunder.com/fragrant-moss-passes-final-technical-milestone-5a0aa47e5c)
- To complement the moss we’ve also had some very interesting, early stage exploratory discussions with a NSF funded researcher who has demonstrated that transgenic plants can clean toxic chemicals such as formaldyde, chloroform and benzene from the air. At this stage the efficiency of the plants is not quite high enough to clean a whole room/house, but the genetic pathways are simpler than we were expecting so this is looking promising. It’s very interesting to think about how these plants could be combined with our fragrant plants to both purify the air and fragrance it at the same time — and all without producing CO2 emissions or requiring mechanical devices.
- Glowing Plant is also making progress, for a more detailed update we shared with our Kickstarter backers please seehttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/antonyevans/glowing-plants-natural-lighting-with-no-electricit/posts/1646817. Main highlights include:
- Our new selection system is working well. This has the advantage that we don’t have to outcross the selection marker which increases transformation efficiency
- We have regenerated plants which contain five of the six genes, with luck we’ll soon get one with all six or alternatively we can put the missing gene into another plant and cross-breed them to get one with all six genes which we can sell
- In parallel we’re starting to put the glowing genes into our moss system. Because the moss does homologous recombination we have to use six different promoters, which is a challenge, but we are optimistic this will eventually work and be a nice complement to the glowing plant
- We also received a shipment of a new strain of bacteria which should be transformable and which is safe to eat. Hopefully in a couple of weeks we’ll be able to report that we’ve successfully made it glow which will trigger the next milestone payment under our Globiotics Collaborative Research Agreement
- One recent setback was the collapse of a deal which would have been our biggest collaborative research partnership to date, worth $124,000 in revenue in the next twelve months. This was with a very big partner with over $100MM in revenue and the agreement was cleared both by legal and the CEO however right when we were about to sign they went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to bad weather disrupting their peak sales season. This was a major disappointment as we’d agreed all the terms and the contract had been approved by their legal department and CEO prior to the chapter 11 filing. There is still a chance that the new buyer proceeds with the agreement but at this stage that’s not highly likely. On the positive side this shows that what we are doing is interesting and valuable to bigger partners and we are able to work on those types of deals
- We are also pleased to announced that Dr James Anderson-Furgeson has joined the team. He just finished his PhD in plant biology from UC Berkeley where he studied cell growth and division in Agrobacterium tumefaciens, nature’s genetic engineer and one of the premier tools for genetic modification of plants. James decided to come work with us because he is excited by our ambition to develop diverse new applications for genetic engineering, and by our goal of bringing the benefits of genetic engineering to a larger group of people. He thinks plants hold a lot of promise as (literally) green photosynthetic factories, and is excited to get to work. View a short video as he introduces himself to you below.
All the best,
Antony & the TAXA Team