Matt Lipscomb, Ph.D., founder, and CEO of DMC Limited (dmcbio.com) delivers a thorough overview of the current state of industrial biotechnology.
Dr. Lipscomb is a veteran of the industrial and pharmaceutical biotechnology field. He has experience working in a range of development stages from early R&D to commercial deployment, in many areas. Some notable past experience includes his tenure with OPX Biotechnologies, where he was a founding employee and served in various roles providing technical leadership and facilitating capital raises in excess of $60M. Dr. Lipscomb was highly respected for his leadership in the execution of a successful DOE (Department of Energy) ARPA-E Electrofuels program for the production of biodiesel from H2 and CO2. Dr. Lipscomb has ample technical expertise in multiple areas of research and production including process development and process modeling, microbial fermentation, technoeconomic analysis (TEA) of bio-based processes, and analytical chemistry.
Dr. Lipscomb provides some background on the genesis of DMC as a spinoff from Duke University, where the core technology was first developed by fellow DMC founder, Mike Lynch, MD, PhD. Dr. Lipscomb discusses the recent history of industrial biotechnology, including the technical challenges and barriers. He outlines how DMC’s technology was designed to help bring down costs, to circumvent barriers to development. By bringing down costs during every phase of a project, from inception to delivery of commercially relevant metrics, DMC facilitates the development of multiple specialty chemical products. Essentially, as Dr. Lipscomb states, deployment of their Dynamic Metabolic Control technology significantly reduces the cost and development timeline.
The biotechnology expert details specifics of the industry. As he explains, there are petroleum derivative products, which include the bulk of common products we use, and then there is another class of products made from methods such as fermentation or extraction from plant materials. He discusses the structural complexities, and cites specific examples of how some products are developed. Dr. Lipscomb delves into the chemical and economic modeling that DMC can provide, assisting product developers to bring their products to market more efficiently, and at reduced cost to the manufacturer.
Dr. Lipscomb details some of the bacterial processes, including a discussion of the various feedstocks used, etc. for development. He outlines the fermentation process and how the end result/product is derived. And he explains why certain processes are more challenging, discussing yield, volume, microbes, applications, cost, etc., with the ultimate issue being price point in the market. For as Dr. Lipscomb explains, the product must be delivered at a price point that is sustainable in the marketplace.
The DMC cofounder talks about some of the exciting new products that are coming to market. As he explains, one of the advantages of the DMC technology is that they can be very precise in what they create. And in regard to their value proposition, DMC seeks to develop products in a directed fashion, making things that other companies have difficulty developing, and in an economically efficient manner. DMC’s extremely low cost development will make metabolic engineering efforts accessible to everyone, and will create many new commercially viable bioprocesses and deliver sustainable routes to brand new products, as well as existing ones.