We met Dmitry Klevzhits, Co-founder and Chairman of SynTau, — to find out more about the project, its idea and future plans.
Understanding the laws of nature and the principles of their work enabled the humanity to learn about the synthesis of organic substance, including the production of genes. Nowadays, the results of this work are applied in various industries.
Let’s take the perfumery manufacturing, for instance. The whole process of getting the required amount of fragrance takes too much time and resources. Companies are investing tens of million dollars to get the fragrance not from a rare flower, but from a particular biological structure. This is how it works: after an artificial gene has been produced, it is implemented to special cell lines, which, in their turn, produce protein — the basis of fragrance development.
Pharmaceutical industry is another example. Progressive target medications also initially represent transgenic substance. The protein that builds up the basis of this substance is able to block cell deformations.
Who deals with it in modern world?
Everything aims at making the process of gene production faster and less expensive. At present, only several European countries, the USA, Southeast Asian countries are able to fully work on it. Among former post-Soviet countries, we are the only ones to do it. If earlier the process required big expenses, now it is possible to make it ten times less expensive due to our know-how and advanced technological process. In this way we get the same result which is much cheaper.
What does SynTau work on?
SynTau represents an ecosystem, in which any interested party can become its member: companies, laboratories, R&Ds, DIYers, engaged into genes production and their utilization, as well as international organisations and funds. The main idea of the ecosystem is to speed up safe development of biological synthesis. SynTau team is actively involved in this process. We are working on the solution that will help to make the process of gene production faster and cheaper. We would like to create a compact device to produce genes. Nowadays, only big old-designed devices, created over 30 years ago, are used in this process.
Progressive technical specialists and scientists of our team have created a compact cube-sized mechanism for gene production. In future, we have an intention to distribute these devices for free to make artificial genes available to the majority of specialists all over the world. The more devices are distributed, the more genes will be produced and consequently, more opportunities to create new significant solutions will emerge. We do understand this fact. However, it is possible only when the ecosystem itself will be improved to a required level. That is why the creation of ecosystem is a our challenging objective.
Why do we need a developed ecosystem?
We understand that the production process becomes simpler. Today, the biologists are able to get a necessary gene and integrate it into biological environment even without a deep understanding of genetics. Nevertheless, simplification and cost-cutting of this process creates particular risks: every scientist is able to get the access to any genes and then implement them in any bacteria, virus, archaea, etc. Thus, if the process becomes too accessible, it opens up an opportunity to get a gene that will produce toxic protein. As a consequence, it will be possible to create biological weapon that can be transported anywhere, as there is no tracking control of gene displacement.
As you can understand, the gene is not a big object. It is as small as a drop so you can put it on the paper, hide it in your wallet, take to any part of the world and then integrate it into any environment.
If our device is available to everyone, gene flow will increase significantly. The question is: how to manage this technological trend? This particular question became the basis of our idea — to get the mechanism, that, from one side, will stimulate the dynamics of the production of artificial genes (biological synthesis development) and from the other — make the process maximally safe.
We found the solution in the blockchain and its opportunities. Blockchain helps to create the conditions in which we are able to control production, making it entirely safe, and stimulate the process of biological synthesis.
Blockchain enables us to solve the following issues:
- Logistics and decision making. The order to produce a gene is automatically transferred to a knowledge database, that analyses the required gene and defines its safety level. With that, not only the safety parameter is defined, but also the person who ordered it. After this analysis the decision whether to approve or deny the production of a gene is taken. If the safety level is more than average, the members of the ecosystem vote for this decision. It is possible with the help of blockchain technology. As soon as the decision is approved, the gene is produced and sent to a customer.
- Quality control. It is always possible to track the phase of gene production. All the information about this gene is uploaded into the system, thus the quality control process is ongoing. When the customer gets the gene, they have all the information about it characteristics. The gene, as a part of DNA, represents a more stable structure than RNA, that is why possible temperature changes are acceptable.
- Remote control/management and accessibility. It is possible to give a task to produce a gene at any time. Indicating a required gene, even the one that doesn’t exists, you can either come to the laboratory and get a ready product or receive it in any part of the world at any time.
- Joint SunTay foundation development is the heart of ecosystem. The members of the ecosystem take an active part in foundation development. It aims at financing decisions on acceleration of biological synthesis development.
Why are we interested in DEIP?
We consider that DEIP architecture will enable us to solve the issues mentioned above. We don’t appreciate the principles of those blockchain platforms, where you have to pay commission for every transaction. It is important for us that DEIP doesn’t charge any commission at all, but there is an opportunity to create economic incentives, enabling to improve the global security and scale humanity goods that biological synthesis brings.
What are the main project goals?
We have already developed the number of mechanisms that will help to improve the production of genes. The work of these mechanisms is a continuous process. One of the most challenging issues for this moment is an ecosystem alignment. The connection of ecosystem to blockchain is happening gradually. We are only at the beginning of our way, though a lot of work has been done.
Some reputed advisors, like Arturo Bris, the director of IMD World Competitiveness Center, the author of the book “Blockchange”; Lars Wegner, the director of Evaxion Biotech, the famous specialist in the field of new vaccines creation and biosecurity, Alex Shkor, one of DEIP founders.
Syn means synthesis or synthetical. Tau is an ancient Greek letter. In science it has significant meanings in various fields. In our case one of the meaning is the closest to us — the LIFE. Artificial life.
Anastasiya Kastsiushkina, DEIP
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