Today, Mr. Kenji Higashi, Executive Officer from Spiber, visited ISAK to share with our students the story of Spiber’s innovation and the mission behind this cutting-edge biomaterial technology company.
One of the Spiber’s remarkable successes is production, on a large scale, of “Spider silk”, which is strong as steel, lighter than carbon fiber, and can be stretched 40 percent beyond its original length without breaking. (http://www.nature.com/
While students found the science and innovation behind recombinant spider silk interesting, they were just as excited to learn the story of how the company started. Mr. Higashi explained that the project started back in 2004. The founders of the company were all students at Keio University. Chatting at a party one night, the conversation turned to which insect is the strongest in the world. Ultimately, the group realized it was not an insect that was the strongest, but rather the web a spider makes to catch insects. What started as a casual conversation led to 10 years of research and innovation. Now the founders of Spiber are recognized worldwide as innovators who can make a big difference to various industries such as the textile industry, auto industry, pharmaceutical industry, and more.
Kenji told ISAK students, “What is most important for us, Spiber, is not just creating spider silk or protein materials. The most important thing for us is to contribute to humanity. So the question that we have all the time is what we can do to make the world a better place than now…and our answer so far is to create synthetic proteins because we are better than anyone else at doing this.”
Thank you so much, Kenji for giving our students great inspiration to be a catalyst for positive change!