Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings.
Laastix is revolutionizing the rubber industry by using cutting-edge synthetic biology techniques to efficiently and sustainably produce high-quality natural rubber.
By using engineered microorganisms, we are able to bypass traditional rubber tree cultivation and reduce the heavy environmental impact associated with traditional rubber production : no more deforestation or monoculture. We also decrease our global dependance to fossil fuels, as 50% of global rubber comes from oil. Our biosynthetic rubber not only has a lower carbon footprint, but the supply is also more reliable, local, and customizable to meet the specific needs of various industries.
Natural rubber is a critical commodity in our modern world, and demand for it is growing. The current production of natural rubber is divided in two parts : half comes from trees, especially the heveas (para-rubber tree), and half is synthetic rubber, derived from petroleum.
Natural rubber production can only happen in tropical environments and under specific weather conditions, making the supply dependent on a handful of countries. One climatic incident can affect the entire world crop, which makes it unreliable. As we only use a single strain of Hevea for the entire production, a genetic disease could wipe out the entire tree population, which happened in Brazil during the XXth century. Production is very slow to adapt to the demand, as it takes 7 years for a tree to be productive. Hevea culture encourages mono-culture which destroys rainforests and biodiversity, very much like palm oil.
Synthetic rubber is not as good as natural rubber, which means that it needs to be replaced more often and cannot be used for the same applications. Its production is based on oil extraction and consumption, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Synthetic rubber is non-biodegradable and its production involves toxic chemicals and materials, which has a negative impact on the environment. Additionally, the process can generate large amounts of solid and liquid waste, which can be difficult to dispose of and can harm the environment if not handled properly.
Using the natural enzymatic machinery and TEARS from the SEED lab, the goal is to provide a reliable and flexible supply of high-quality natural rubber, with a low carbon footprint and without relying on any fossil raw material.
Based on the biological pathway of the Hevea Rubber Tree, we identified the relevant proteins necessary for the rubber synthesis. We introduced an entire new pathway in E. Coli bacterias, resulting in the biosynthesis of high-quality, natural rubber.
Synthetic biology-based natural rubber production is more sustainable than traditional rubber tree cultivation, as it does not rely on the large-scale clearing of forests and can use renewable energy sources for production. We also reduce the environmental impact of rubber production by minimizing the use of toxic chemicals during production and relying on fossil fuels.
Our natural rubber production is not subject to the same fluctuations in supply caused by disease, weather, and other factors that can impact traditional rubber tree cultivation.
By engineering the microorganisms used in the production process, it is possible to customize the properties of the rubber produced, such as its elasticity, strength, and durability, to meet specific industry needs.
Mathieu discovered synthetic biology and its numerous applications during the Covid lockdown, while researching the technology and science behind the miraculous RNA vaccines.
Realizing the critical importance of extracting and transforming raw materials in a sustainable way, he decided to use synthetic biology to produce natural rubber and other polymers, to decrease our carbon footprint and reduce our dependence on oil.
Prior to Laastix, Mathieu co-founded Manty, a startup helping public administrations conceive and pilot public policies with data.