Neoplants Unveils New Lab for Unparalleled Plant Synthetic Biology
State-of-the-art facilities make it possible to host an array of different fields of synthetic biology that traditionally exist separately, making for a unique, collaborative setting for a holistic approach to bioengineering.
[March 30, 2023] – Paris, France – Neoplants, a global leader in synthetic biology, today announced the opening of The Seed, a new cutting edge lab based in Paris, designed to accommodate a multitude of scientific fields involved in plant synthetic biology.
The Seed was built to provide the best working environment with state-of-the-art facilities to maximize collaboration across multiple scientific fields. By hosting a diverse panorama of synthetic biology categories from microbiology to genetic engineering, The Seed provides a unique environment for modern synthetic biology.
“Our long term mission at Neoplants is to curb air pollution, starting inside the home. Traditional houseplants are natural air purifiers, and we want to enhance their ability to decontaminate indoor air from volatile organic compounds,” said Lionel Mora, co-founder and CEO of Neoplants. “Bioengineering our plants requires critical collaboration between every field of synthetic biology, so we created the ideal place for all of our experts within those fields to come together so we can more effectively achieve our collective goal to create a positive impact.”
Building the lab called for major reconstruction and relocation of the facility’s electrical, plumbing, lab equipment, and air flow components to fit the needs of the several scientific fields. It was also designed to welcome plenty of sunlight to benefit both the plants and people it hosts on a daily basis.
Plant physiology, analytical chemistry, plant transformation, plant molecular biology, biochemistry, microbiology, metabolism engineering, bioinformatics, and indoor air quality will all be accommodated at The Seed:
- Plant Physiology: More than 100 m2 of advanced plant growth spaces for research and development support the process involved in studying the full growth and life of a plant, from embryo to full form. This includes specific and discrete control over temperature, heat, light, and water to ensure zero contamination for in vitro growth.
- Analytical Chemistry: Top of the line analytical chemistry instruments will be available for the testing of specific pollutants’ molecular pathways, quantification of the plant molecular pathways, and to monitor unforeseen by-products of Neoplants’ bioengineering efforts.
- Plant Transformation: Various transformation techniques Neoplants is pioneering or modernizing are designed to insert DNA, specifically electroportation, biolistics, agrobacterium, and chemical (via polyethylene glycol). Equipment and in vitro growth spaces are designed to accommodate transformation of any type of plant.
- Plant Molecular Biology: Innovative molecular biology tools affirm the expression of complex enzymatic pathways created with specific design traits (such as better metabolism of specific VOCs), allowing for the accommodation of advanced metabolism engineering and gene stacking technology.
- Biochemistry: Biochemists can perform enzyme selection and engineering through two techniques:
- Rational Design: Implementing precise changes into a plant’s amino acid sequence, guided by structure and mechanism of a selected enzyme.
- Directed Evolution: Done with no prior knowledge of a given enzyme structure or mechanism, this requires applying random changes to an amino acid sequence before selecting against the improved plant function.
- Microbiology: Bioengineering plants requires enhanced enzymes capable of air de-pollution to augment the microbiome living within the plant to strengthen its ability to uptake VOCs. The holistic environment ensures bioengineered plants (and their planters) are designed efficiently for a global solution for indoor air quality.
- Metabolism Engineering: Enzyme selection, structure, and mechanisms are critical to successfully bioengineering plants. Selecting the best enzyme combination for the plants is done more efficiently with the collaboration of other scientific fields, which enables thorough assessment to ensure the activity of each part without negatively impacting plant growth. The lab allows for these enzyme combinations to be tested both in bacteria for first-step selection and in the plants themselves.
- Bioinformatics: Resources for the computation and analysis of plant genomes, selected enzymes, codon usage of the plants, and metabolic networking will all be available at The Seed.
- Indoor Air Quality: Premium tools and various chambers are included for air quality assessment, and are unique to exist in synthetic biology labs. This includes two chambers that give scientists precise control over air exchange, temperature, humidity, light, and pollution levels to qualify the specifications of the final product.
Similar to its namesake, The Seed marks the start of something new for Neoplants, as the company moves to produce its future plants in an environment purpose-built to nurture the science of synthetic biology.
Neoplants uses bioengineering and directed evolution to create “Plants with a Purpose,” beginning with the first plant built to fight air pollution: Neo P1. The world’s most efficient natural air purification system, the Neo P1, is more effective than up to thirty of the most popular houseplants in capturing and recycling harmful VOCs from indoor air.
The company was founded by CEO Lionel Mora and CTO Patrick Torbey in 2018. Born out of the largest global startup incubator, Station F, and including eleven PhDs, the company is headquartered in Paris, France, with partner growing facilities in the United States. Neoplants is backed by leading investors and advisors, including True Ventures, Heartcore, Collaborative Fund and Entrepreneur First. The team includes world-class bioengineers from various backgrounds to put nature at the heart of innovation.
Kevin Brown - Be Good PR