BioProcess Insider spoke with Biomatter Designs founder and CEO Laurynas Karpus to discuss the Lithuanian-born start-up and its future.

Millie Nelson, Editor

March 14, 2022

4 Min Read
AI start-up explains why protein engineering (Bio)matters
Image: Laurynas Karpus, founder and CEO of Biomatter Designs

BioProcess Insider spoke with Biomatter Designs founder and CEO Laurynas Karpus to discuss the Lithuanian-born start-up and its future.

Founded in 2018, Biomatter Designs aims to shift the field of protein engineering by producing a platform for generative protein design for next-generation manufacturing and therapeutic applications.


Image: Laurynas Karpus, founder and CEO of Biomatter Designs

BioProcess Insider (BI): How would you describe Biomatter Designs?

Laurynas Karpus (LK): Biomatter Designs is a biotech company striving to shift the paradigm in the field of protein engineering by developing a platform for generative protein design for the next-generation manufacturing and therapeutic applications. Our AI-based generative approach allows us to effectively construct new proteins with unique properties and functionalities, while reducing the required experimental validation work to a minimum.

BI: How does your AI-based generative approach differ from others in the industry?

LK:  A significant part of Biomatter Designs work is aimed towards the applied research and development of completely new machine learning and bioinformatics tools for protein design.  Specifically, we place a large focus on engineering novel AI architectures and fine-tuning the algorithms with extensive experimental validation of the methods.

BI: why does this method allow you to construct new proteins and reduce experimental time?

LK: The resulting platform allows us to design enzymes with high accuracy and, in turn, reduces the required experimental trial-and-error to a minimum. Practically, this means that after a short 2-week computational design cycle we only need to test tens of protein variants in the laboratory to find the right candidates. This is a significant decrease of time and resources required to design proteins compared to the industry standard.

BI: What manufacturing space do you currently have and where is this located?

LK: We currently have laboratory facilities for small-scale manufacturing of proteins for the internal testing and biochemical characterization of our designs based in Vilnius, Lithuania university campus.

BI: Are there plans to expand in the future?

LK: Our current lab space does not meet needs dictated by our growth, so we are planning to move to a newly built facility with 3,000 square feet of dedicated laboratory [and] manufacturing space within this year.

BI: What are the advantages of operating out of Lithuania?

LK: Lithuania is attractive for biotech start-ups by qualified workforce, presence of large biotech companies and supportive national [and] European Union (EU) funding and tax policies.

BI: What are the benefits of being a start-up company?

LK: Being a start-up or a smaller company can definitely have its advantages. One of those advantages is the ability to be nimble – especially when it comes to the innovation process and implementing these changes quickly, which mainly stems from having a small team and less decision makers.

BI: With the talent pool being described by many in Lithuania as a major selling point, do you think the level of growth may exceed the amount of people able to fill skilled jobs?

LK: In search for talent, we are not limiting ourselves with the local workforce as we believe that diversity of experiences and approaches is a key component of success.

BI: Does this create any challenges?

LK: We aim to attract talents internationally, so the challenge for us is to create really enticing career opportunities, which would help to overcome relocation barriers.

BI: Can you explain the advantages of hiring internationally?

LK: The local talent pool is very important; it is constantly replenished by university graduates and students returning from abroad. Also, maybe somewhat counterintuitively, further growth and diversification of Lithuanian Biotech sector will help to attract and retain specialists, as it will provide even more stable and varied career pathways. Influx of talent from other European countries can be already observed and likely to expand in the future.

BI: Where do you see Biomatter Designs in 5 years?

LK: Biomatter Designs will make a significant impact in how proteins are engineered and increase the design complexity that can be achieved, which in turn will open new avenues for novel therapeutics and routes for manufacturing. We have already demonstrated the potential of our approach to dramatically improve properties of enzymes with minimal experimental effort and we believe that is only the beginning of what can be built using our computational protein design platform.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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