ANN ARBOR — Kraig Biocraft Laboratories Inc. (OTC: KBLB), the Ann Arbor-based company using gene splicing techniques to give silk the strength of spiderwebs, said Monday it had completed its initial deliveries to the United States Army of its Dragon Silk product for testing as a bullet-resistant material.
The product converted into material for ballistic testing by New Ipswitch, N.H.-based Warwick Mills Inc., a developer of advanced protective materials.
Kraig COO Jon Rice said the Army plans to test the material in a variety of thicknesses and configurations in what are called “ballistic shoot packs.”
The company is expected to make its final deliveries to the Army under a $1 million contract by June 30. Company spokesman Ben Hansel said Kraig “hopes to grow that into a much larger contract.”
Kraig’s spider silk products use domesticated silkworm moths that make their cocoons out of material that, when processed commercially, we know as silk. Kraig’s moths have been genetically engineered by splicing several spider genes into their cells, so that the silk they make has proteins from spider webbing that make the silk much stronger.
Kraig’s lead product is a genetically engineered spider silk branded as Dragon Silk. Its closely related sister product is called Monster Silk. Both products are spun by lines of transgenic silkworms. They are composed of a unique combination of spider silk protein and silkworm silk protein. These genetically engineered spider silks are significantly stronger and more flexible than commercial grade silk.
The production of spider silk in commercial quantities holds the potential of a life-saving ballistic resistant material, which is lighter, thinner, more flexible, and tougher than steel. Other applications of spider silk include use as structural material and for any application in which light weight and high strength are required.
“The Indiana factory scale up of our proprietary recombinant spider silk, we call Dragon Silk, has exceeded our expectations,” company founder and CEO Kim Thompson said in a press release. “As we ship this first batch of Dragon Silk cocoons dedicated for the U.S. Army, we are already beginning to prepare for production of fibers ready for commercial sale to some of our primary end users.”
To view the most recent edition of Kraig’s Spider Sense quarterly newsletter or to sign up for company alerts, visit www.kraiglabs.com/newsletter.
For more information about Spider Silk, visit www.kraiglabs.com/spider-silk.
Warwick Mills engineers technical textiles for protective applications. More at www.warwickmills.com
Founded in 2006, Kraig continues a collaborative research and development effort with The University of Notre Dame, which has resulted in spider silk technological breakthroughs.