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Materiom awarded Google.org grant to develop AI tool for biomaterials startups

by Kate Black

Kate Black
02 Apr 2024

Materiom has won funding from Google.org to develop a generative AI tool for biomaterials development. The goal of the tool is to alleviate R&D bottlenecks experienced by startups working on novel biomaterials for packaging, textiles and other applications.

“We see first movers in biomaterials coming up against recurring challenges that inhibit their path to market scale-up”, says Alysia Garmulewicz, Co-CEO and Founder of Materiom. “Data- and AI-driven R&D hold exciting potential to overcome some of these and unlock new efficiencies.”

The tool will assist startups in their development of high-performance, plastic-free alternatives that are 100% biobased and compostable — with the aim of reducing dependence on petrochemicals, waste to landfill, and pollution.

AI an enabler

“In the same way that AI chatbots like Gemini and ChatGPT can help users to create new story plots and navigate trade-offs in decision making, our tool will help users to develop new biomaterial formulations fast,” explains Jan Botha, Materiom’s AI Chief Strategist.

Materiom will leverage the large language model (LLM) technology that powers today’s chatbots, and adapt it specifically for biomaterials development.

Developing a new biomaterial often relies on the contextual experience of scientists who intimately understand biopolymers and their behaviours.

“Generative models can simulate such context and experience by efficiently representing and accessing vast datasets, and then reusing the information in new ways to speed up biomaterials development.”

Biomaterials science and generative AI: a tailored solution

The tool’s potential for impact lies in its combination of cutting edge biomaterials science with generative AI capabilities. As a data company with deep biochemistry expertise, Materiom is ready to spearhead this process.

“Biomaterials have unique behaviours and properties. To tailor an effective solution to this sector, quality and quantity of data will be crucial, as will the right testing and feedback loops,” says Liz Corbin, Co-CEO and Founder of Materiom.

Materiom will work with pioneering biomaterials startups — from seaweed-based packaging to plant-based leather producers and more — to pilot and refine the tool’s efficacy, while accelerating their R&D efforts. Materiom will also take part in a Google.org AI accelerator program to amplify its team of technical experts and advisors.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to embark on a learning journey that — with the right ingredients — we hope will accelerate and scale up the entire biomaterials sector,” says Corbin.

Get in touch

Are you a biomaterial startup interested in AI-driven R&D and taking part in the tool’s development? Send us an email at [email protected]

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