07 Nov 2018   |   Network Updates   |   Update from ETH Zurich
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

ETH Zurich licensing opportunity: Multifunctional protein-based materials and micro-reactors for biotechnological applications


Biologically inspired molecular adhesives assemble multiple proteins in one supramolecular structure, opening a new class of enhanced enzymes, pharmaceuticals or biosensors.


It is a severe need to combine multiple functionalities within the same protein-based material for applications in enzyme technology, biosensors and drug delivery. Current approaches rely on the post-functionalization of pre-formed scaffolds, which come with the risk of activity loss due to material loss or modifications of the pristine protein structure.


The molecular adhesive is a protein sequence enriched in specific aminoacids. Conjugation of these molecular adhesives to globular proteins with different functionalities induces the assembly into sumpramolecular structures (see figure above). Depending on the molecular adhesives, these structures range from liquid micro-compartments to solid particles. The principle was tested in the laboratory for innovative enzymes.

Features & Benefits

  • Assembly of multiple proteins into desired supramolecular structures
  • Both reversible and irreversible structures, from liquid to gel to solid
  • Stimulus responsiveness

Fields of Application

  • Enzymes, food, pharmaceuticals
  • Formulation and delivery of proteins at high concentrations

Patent Status: patent pending


L. Faltova, A.M. Küffner, M.T. Hondele, K. Weis, P. Arosio "Controlled self-assembly of globular proteins using low complexity domains as molecular adhesives", ACS Nano (2018), DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b04304

Technology Readiness Level: 3

This licensing opportunity was published  06 November 2018 by ETH Zurich.

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