ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (OTCQB: KBLB) (“the Company” or “Kraig Labs”), the biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of spider silk, today provides updates concerning the Company’s spider silk production program and the impacts to its operations of the tightening COVID-19 restrictions in Vietnam and globally.
The Company is pleased to announce that Prodigy Textiles, Kraig Labs’ Vietnamese subsidiary, has now produced enough silk to create a number of different fabric blends. These fabrics were designed in partnership with PL Kings for use in products under the jointly owned SpydasilkTM brand. The Company expected to have these fabrics produced in Vietnam by the end of the second quarter, but must now source mills outside of Vietnam. The increasing COVID-19 related restrictions in Vietnam and elsewhere are preventing the delivery of finished fabrics to PL Kings. The Company is now coordinating the export of its finished recombinant spider silk. This effort is being coordinated with PL Kings to identify alternative mills within the ASEAN region capable of producing these fabrics.
The Company’s technology was designed to be a direct drop-in for traditional silk production systems and operations at Prodigy have demonstrated that its specialized silkworms can be easily raised using traditional methods. At this time, the Company has not been required to close its Prodigy Textiles facility, but with lockdowns increasing in several cities, the Company is preparing for every potentiality. Travel restrictions and the required closure of many business segments of the economy, including transportation across Vietnam, have significantly slowed the Company’s production operations. The additional lab and testing equipment the Company scheduled for installation is now also on hold due to shutdowns at the Hanoi-based supplier.
In anticipation of these delays and restrictions, Kraig Labs’ US R&D headquarters amplified its support of Prodigy’s production operations by significantly increasing its egg supplementation capacity to ensure a stable supply of eggs. A shipment of 100,000 DragonsilkTM eggs was sent from the Company’s US facility, in June, to test the efficiency of this contingency plan and boost production at Prodigy. The eggs successfully arrived in Ho Chi Minh City only to find delays caused by reduced staffing at Vietnamese customs. Final delivery to the Prodigy factory was delayed considerably by multiple COVID-19 checkpoints. This added delay starved the eggs of oxygen, killing a large portion of those eggs. If movement restrictions in Vietnam continue to increase, it may no longer be feasible to reliably import silkworm eggs in the near term.
The US operations, including R&D and egg production, have greatly exceeded expectations over the last three quarters. The Company has developed four separate strains of its knock-in/knock-out nearly pure spider silk line of hybrids which we believe are almost ready for the transition to production. The R&D team in the US is now working to ensure the genetic inserts are in a stable homozygous configuration. These strains have been developed in two unique commercial silkworms lines and, when crossbred, create significantly larger cocoons that improve the finished yarn and spinning. This powerful technology has been the main focus of our R&D efforts and is nearly complete. The Company hopes to be able to transition these new and more powerful hybrids to Prodigy Textiles. However, before this shipment can happen, we must have a reliable means of delivering these new technologies to Vietnam and Prodigy’s factory.
These new technologies and transgenics are covered under multiple PCT patent applications the Company filed in 2021. The first of these patent applications covering its core Knock-in/Knock-out system was filed in February. In July, the Company filed two additional PCT patents expanding on that original design and merged multiple provisional patents initially filed in July 2020. While Monster Silk® and Dragon SilkTM are the core of the Company’s current offerings, the next generation of yarns and fabrics produced by Prodigy Textiles will be built on the performance of these nearly pure spider silk transgenics.
The COVID-19 related delays in Vietnam are also impacting the Company’s uplisting application. Kraig Labs has addressed all of the stated requirements for listing on a national exchange. An additional hurdle, over and above the listing requirements, was then presented to the Company. A new requirement was created, forcing Kraig to demonstrate market demand for spider silk through commercial sales. The Company’s partnership with PL Kings and the establishment of the SpydasilkTM Apparel brand was poised to verify demand and generate those sales in the third quarter. The shutdown of the mills in Vietnam has now caused a several-month delay in the delivery of those finished fabrics and the first finished garments.
“We’ve been pressing hard on multiple facets of our spider silk fiber production program in order to achieve the uplisting and to bring value to our shareholders. We have also been working to create a set of contingency plans and workarounds for the constantly evolving COVID-19 restriction in Vietnam and around the world. We are very pleased with the performance of the first samples of silk produced by the factory and we are even more thrilled to have enough material to start weaving the first composite fabrics. This latest wave of COVID shutdowns is impacting our operations and our Prodigy team members more severely than anything we have previously experienced. With that said, between our teams at Prodigy and Kraig Labs, I am confident that we will weather this storm, as we have so many in the past,” said the Company’s COO, Jon Rice. “We are working now to get our finished silk out of Vietnam so that they can be converted into fabrics and delivered into the hands of our partners at PL Kings.”
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About Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc.
Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. (www.KraigLabs.com), a fully reporting biotechnology company, is a developer of genetically engineered spider silk based fiber technologies.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information
Statements in this press release about the Company’s future and expectations other than historical facts are “forward-looking statements.” These statements are made on the basis of management’s current views and assumptions. As a result, there can be no assurance that management’s expectations will necessarily come to pass. These forward-looking statements generally can be identified by phrases such as “believes,” “plans,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “foresees,” “estimated,” “hopes,” “if,” “develops,” “researching,” “research,” “pilot,” “potential,” “could” or other words or phrases of similar import. Forward looking statements include descriptions of the Company’s business strategy, outlook, objectives, plans, intentions and goals. All such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security.
Ben Hansel, Hansel Capital, LLC