Biology meets cloud computing and AI: Unilever partners with Arzeda to harness the power of computer designed enzymes
LONDON, UK AND SEATTLE, WA., JULY 13TH, 2021 (08:01 BST/00:01 PDT) Unilever and Arzeda, the industry-leading Protein Design Company™, have entered a strategic partnership to apply the latest advances in digital biology to discovering and designing new enzymes. The partnership will impact many of the world’s leading cleaning and laundry products, including Unilever's OMO (Persil), Sunlight, and Surf.
Enzymes are fundamental to the natural and living world around us, responsible for nearly all biological functions that take place on earth, from how plants and trees absorb CO2, to how we convert food to energy in our bodies. Enzymes have also long been a key ingredient in cleaning and laundry products, breaking down stains made from fat, oils, and protein chains on our laundry and surfaces. To date, science has only scraped the surface of the benefits they could provide in our everyday lives. Unlocking their power could provide almost endless possibilities.
Under the partnership, over the next three years, the global consumer goods company will apply Arzeda’s world-leading digital biology techniques to its own product innovations across its cleaning and laundry portfolio. Arzeda learns from the vast number of enzymes already in nature, and uses smart technologies – a combination of physics-based computational protein design and deep learning, a form of AI – to optimise their functionalities. As well as exploring enzymes occurring naturally in the world, Arzeda is also able to design diverse, new versions with unique benefits that would otherwise not have been possible.
Originally derived from nature, Arzeda optimizes enzymes to replace ingredients with a high environmental footprint commonly found in most cleaning and laundry products. As part of its Clean Future strategy, Unilever has committed to eliminate virgin fossil fuels as a feedstock for the chemicals in its cleaning and laundry product formulations. Enzymes, which are low carbon, naturally derived and deliver added performance benefits, will be critical in helping Unilever realise its Clean Future ambition. The discovery and optimisation of new enzymes in formulations could result in up to 50% less ingredients required, while delivering superior cleaning benefits to the consumer.
As well as delivering new benefits for the cleaning and laundry sector, this partnership will encourage knowledge sharing of previously undiscovered uses for enzymes that could solve wider consumer, industrial and environmental challenges across multiple sectors. Arzeda is working with a number of global players at present to produce future-focussed solutions to large societal and everyday problems, from the production of renewable chemicals to self-healing phone screens.
Peter ter Kulve, Unilever Home Care President said, “This partnership is an exciting step forward as we work to transform our cleaning and laundry business to be superior, sustainable and affordable to all. We look forward to working with Arzeda in developing a new generation of ultra-performing cleaning and laundry products with an environmental impact a fraction of the size of current products."
Alexandre Zanghellini, CEO and founder of Arzeda said, “We are delighted to work with Unilever to support their Clean Future ambition with enzymes that improve the environmental footprint of consumer products. Arzeda’s mission is to design and manufacture new proteins that improve health and sustainability, and we see this partnership as a key milestone to make this a reality in home care. Working with Unilever, we hope to create a new era for industrial enzymes that will contribute to a more sustainable world while improving consumer experience.”
ENDS | Contact UnileverCleanFuture@edelman.com for more information
Notes to editors:
In April this year, The Nova Institute released a report, commissioned by Unilever, titled ‘Turning off the tap for fossil carbon.’ In it, it was calculated for the first time ever the amount of carbon needed annually for the production of chemicals and derived products: 450 million tonnes. Of this, 85% of the overall carbon demand is met by virgin fossil fuel resources.
Decoupling the chemical sector from the use of virgin fossil fuels is critical for mitigating the damaging impact of climate change and requires a transformation of the chemicals sector unseen since the industrial revolution.
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world – including iconic global brands like Dove, Lifebuoy, Knorr, Magnum, OMO and Surf; and other brands such as Love Beauty & Planet, Hourglass, Seventh Generation and The Vegetarian Butcher.
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world’s first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it’s at the heart of how we run our company today.
The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:
While there is still more to do, we are proud to have been recognised in 2020 as a sector leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and - for the tenth-consecutive year - as the top ranked company in the 2020 GlobeScan/SustainAbility Sustainability Leaders survey.
For more information about Unilever and our brands, please visit www.unilever.com.
Arzeda harnesses the power of computational protein design to create and manufacture proteins that enhance our lives and protect our planet. In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and industrial leaders, we develop healthy and sustainable products for the food & nutrition, advanced materials, and diagnostics & pharma industries globally. Arzeda's proprietary protein design platform combines physics-based computational protein design, machine learning and lab automation to expand the reach of biotechnology beyond the solutions that nature evolved. For more information, please visit www.arzeda.com.
SEATTLE (Nov. 24, 2020) - Codexis and existing Series A investor, Casdin Capital, have co-invested in Arzeda as part of the SynBio Innovation Accelerator. In addition to the capital investment, Codexis and Arzeda look forward to collaborate on areas of synergy and mutual advantage. Press release from Codexis and Casdin Capital available here.
Arzeda Expands Applications of its Protein Design Platform and Advances Towards Commercial Deployment of Designer Enzymes for Sustainable Food & Nutrition Ingredients
Arzeda Appoints Biotechnology Veteran Doug Cameron to Board of Directors
SEATTLE (Nov. 19, 2020) -- Arzeda, the Protein Design Company™, today announced that biotechnology veteran Doug Cameron, PhD has joined the company's board of directors. Dr. Cameron brings three decades of experience in commercializing food and agriculture biotechnology products.
Proteins are the workhorses of life. Arzeda's protein design technology platform enables the design of proteins and enzymes never evolved in nature to expand the reach of biotechnology. With successful partnerships already underway to commercialize industrial enzymes and sustainable chemicals with companies such as BP and Amyris, there are additional opportunities for the application of Arzeda's protein design platform in sustainable food and nutrition. In the field of sustainable food and nutrition ingredients, Arzeda's designer proteins can be used both as products and processing aids to unlock commercialization of natural ingredients difficult or impossible to produce economically with current technology.
"The food sector is quickly becoming one of our key areas of focus," says Alexandre Zanghellini, Arzeda's co-founder and CEO. "We have developed a proprietary portfolio of enzymes enabling healthier natural sweeteners and soluble fibers. We also have programs in structured lipids to replace animal-derived fats, plant-based proteins and cannabinoids."
Cameron joins existing independent director William "Bill" Baum, a leader in the industrial enzyme and specialty chemical industries.
"I am happy to be part of the leading protein design company. The vast potential of designer proteins is mind boggling. I look forward to helping Arzeda develop products and processes to improve the world's health, environment, and prosperity."
Doug's long career in the science and business of biobased products has made him one of the most experienced professionals in the industry. After two decades in academia at the University of Wisconsin and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Doug led biotechnology R&D for Cargill before serving as CSO at Khosla Ventures and Managing Director of several biotech venture funds.
"Doug's wide breadth of experience spans the technical, operational and financial aspects of food & agriculture biotechnology product commercialization, and we are excited to have him join Arzeda," added Alexandre Zanghellini. "His insights will be critical as we focus on accelerating commercialization of our proprietary enzymes in this space."
Since 2008 Arzeda has been harnessing the power of computational protein design to create and manufacture proteins that enhance our lives and protect our planet. In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and industrial leaders, we develop healthy and sustainable products for the food & nutrition, materials and diagnostics&pharma industries globally. Arzeda's proprietary protein design platform combines physics-based computational protein design, machine learning and lab automation to expand the reach of biotechnology beyond the solutions that nature evolved. For more information, please visit www.arzeda.com.
Atalanta Rafferty, RF|Binder
Synergistic technology platforms being leveraged to accelerate development of high value ingredients
SEATTLE (October 20, 2020) - Arzeda, the Protein Design Company™, today announced that the company has entered into a joint development agreement with Amyris that leverages the complementary nature of the two companies’ technology platforms to accelerate the development and commercialization of high value ingredients. This marks the second joint project between the parties. Amyris and Arzeda collaborated successfully on a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Technology Investment Agreement (TIA) during the period of 2015 – 2019.
The objective of this Development Collaboration Agreement is for Arzeda to design and develop novel enzymes for Amyris with unique functionalities, which Amyris will incorporate into their fermentation process to facilitate production of the target high value ingredients. Funding of the project is milestone based, with Arzeda receiving an additional payment contingent on early success as well as a value-share on product commercialization. Enzymes being designed and developed by Arzeda for this project are not found in nature and thus represent the power of the computational platform to build enzymes with unique functionality without a natural starting point. Amyris and Arzeda expect to have fermentation strains containing enzymes designed by Arzeda developed during 2021.
“We are very excited to again work with Amyris on bringing new products to market by combining protein design and strain engineering,” said Alexandre Zanghellini, Arzeda CEO. “Amyris is a pioneer of synthetic biology, and our previous collaboration gave us tremendous respect for their technical competency and professionalism. We witnessed how Amyris’ technology platform can dramatically accelerate the development of products that incorporate Arzeda’s designer enzymes and proteins, and we are looking forward to this new commercial partnership.”
Sunil Chandran, Senior Vice President R&D for Amyris, added, “We saw firsthand in our previous work with Arzeda the power of combining physics-based computational protein design, machine learning and rapid experimental testing to access new enzyme functionality. We look forward to deploying their unique technology platform and expertise to further accelerate Amyris’ product development.”
Since 2008 Arzeda has been harnessing the power of computational protein design to create and manufacture proteins that enhance our lives and protect our planet. In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and industrial leaders, we develop healthy and sustainable products with a clear path to access the food ingredients industry globally. Arzeda's proprietary protein design platform combines physics-based computational protein design, machine learning and lab automation to expand the reach of biotechnology beyond the solutions that nature evolved. For more information, please visit www.arzeda.com.
Amyris (Nasdaq: AMRS) is a science and technology leader in the research, development and production of sustainable ingredients for the Clean Health & Beauty and Flavors & Fragrances markets. Amyris uses an impressive array of exclusive technologies, including state-of-the-art machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Our ingredients are included in over 3,000 products from the world's top brands, reaching more than 200 million consumers. Amyris is proud to own three consumer brands - all built around its No Compromise® promise of clean ingredients: Biossance™ clean beauty skincare, Pipette™ clean baby skincare and Purecane™, a zero-calorie sweetener naturally derived from sugarcane. For more information, please visit www.amyris.com.
Atalanta Rafferty. RF|Binder
SEATTLE – (December 10, 2019) – BP and Arzeda, the Protein Design Company™, are pleased to announce they have entered a second extended collaboration agreement for developing a bio-process for production of a renewable chemical of high strategic and industrial interest to BP.
After successful completion of the first phase of the project, the companies have chosen to enter the second phase with the aim to accelerate progress towards commercialization of the target chemical by building on the two companies complementary technologies and core competencies. Arzeda reached a major deliverable in the previous engagement, which set the stage for BP to move to this extended agreement.
Arzeda is excited to again be working with a leading energy and chemical company with a commitment to low-carbon solutions that contribute to a more sustainable future. Bringing to market bio-based products require simultaneous advances in multiple technologies, including the key catalysts, or enzymes. Arzeda’s protein design technology, Archytas™ is uniquely positioned to enable improved enzymes that drive the production of new products with attractive performance and economic value.
Alexandre Zanghellini, Arzeda’s CEO, commented, “A returning partner is a tremendous validation of our technology and the collective effort of the Arzeda and BP teams. We look forward to continue building value for BP and the next equally fruitful collaboration!”
Arzeda is harnessing the power of computational protein design to build novel enzymes and discover new pathways that enable cost effective, sustainable production of value-added specialty chemicals and ingredients. In partnership with Fortune 500 companies and industrial leaders, the company has developed a portfolio of enzymes that increase the efficiency, robustness and diversity of biological processes. Our proprietary pathway design software unlocks new opportunities for specialty chemicals, advanced materials and health and nutrition products that would otherwise be impossible to exploit.
More information is available at www.arzeda.com.
SEATTLE – (April 15, 2019) –Arzeda, the Protein Design Company™, has been featured in GeekWire: Inside Arzeda's synthetic biology lab, where industrial ingredients are brewed like beer.
SEATTLE – (April 6, 2019) –Arzeda, the Protein Design Company™, has been featured in the April 6th issue of The Economist's Technology Quarterly on synthetic biology.
Arzeda continues to climb the annual rankings of world’s most widely read biofuels and biobased chemicals daily journal
SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO – (November 14, 2018) –Arzeda, the Protein Design Company™, has been recognized for the third time as among the top companies in the advanced bioeconomy in the annual rankings by Biofuels Digest, the world’s most widely-read bioeconomy daily. Arzeda was ranked Number 5 in this year’s 40 Hottest Technologies in the Advanced Bioeconomy list, one step above its number 6 ranking in 2017. Arzeda ranked number 27 on the list in 2016.
SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO – (October 2, 2018) –Arzeda, The Protein Design Company™, and BP announced a collaboration to develop a process for producing a renewable chemical with broad applications.
SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO – (October 3, 2017) –Arzeda Corp, “The Protein Design Company™,” and TeselaGen Biotechnology Inc., a software company providing automated DNA design solutions with it’s Synthetic Evolution™ software platform, today announced that Arzeda will license TeselaGen’s proprietary cloud-based informatics solution and collaborate to extend TeselaGen’s state-of-the-art biological design automation platform.