Laurynas Karpus, Irmantas Rokaitis and Vykintas Jauniškis, Co-founders of the Vilnius University (VU) startup, Biomatter Designs, have made it onto the “Forbes 30 Under 30 – Europe – Science & Healthcare” list.
The AI platform developed by Biomatter Designs enables the development of therapeutic and DNA-editing proteins and novel enzymes, for the efficient and environmentally-friendly synthesis of chemical compounds.
"Sometimes, when new technological solutions are being developed, we don’t even know if they are possible. But we stay persistent, believe in our vision, and work patiently towards our goal, as we have the inner confidence that everything will be fine. However, recognition such as that of Forbes provides us with external confirmation that we are doing meaningful work. This is very important for us, as the founders,” said Laurynas Karpus, CEO and Co-founder of Biomatter Designs.
During the development of their idea, Professor Rolandas Meškys from the Institute of Biochemistry at the VU Life Sciences Centre, and Donatas Repečka from the computer science field, joined the startup team as cofounders.
In the latest issue of Spectrum, Professor Meškys argues that the bioinformatics tools being developed by Laurynas Karpus and his team will both improve and complement the existing protein engineering methods. They speed up the research process, avoid the need to screen millions of potentially suitable proteins, and suggest how to modify the existing structure of a protein to make it more resistant to high temperatures, prevent it from breaking down quickly or make it more active.
“These, and similar AI techniques, allow us to generate protein sequences that do not exist in nature and to train them to work as they should. While in the industry we usually look for enzymes that occur naturally in nature, in reality the manufacturers don’t really care where the enzyme comes from – they just need a good protein that has a useful function at the time. Furthermore, what exists in nature is not always suitable for industry, because evolution does not function in order to make a protein work in a factory or to make an effective medicine,” explained the professor.
Biomatter Designs is one of more than 20 innovative companies operating at VU.