Sestina Bio Uses Inscripta’s Onyx® Platform to Develop Microbial Strain Ready for Scale-up in Less Than 12 Months

Inscripta and Sestina Bio announced successful development of a ready-to-scale microbial strain producing Bakuchiol, a natural retinol replacement.

Inscripta, Inc., a global leader in automated, CRISPR-based gene editing technology, and Sestina Bio, LLC, a synbio pioneer leveraging proprietary data assets to predict performance at scale, today announced the successful development of a ready-to-scale microbial strain that produces the compound Bakuchiol. This marks a significant development for the synbio industry and an important milestone as one of the first bioproducts developed using the Onyx Platform.

The Onyx fundamentally disrupts the status quo approach to strain optimization, greatly accelerating time to market.

Bakuchiol is a natural and effective skincare ingredient shown to deliver many of the same benefits as retinol, but with antioxidant properties and reduced side effects. While Bakuchiol’s efficacy and safety make it an extremely attractive alternative to retinol, the supply chain for Bakuchiol is broken and unscalable – sourced from a threatened plant species with a rapidly rising price.

To address the growing demand, Sestina Bio set out to produce a sustainable biomanufacturing process for Bakuchiol. “Sestina’s mission has always been to develop a scalable way of making products that the world needs,” said Ted Tarasow, CTO, Sestina Bio. “Bakuchiol presented us with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how we can build natural products sustainably, and on a timescale never seen before. In less than a year, our team went from the discovery of a key enzyme to the delivery of a yeast strain producing Bakuchiol at titers suitable for commercial scale up.”

“Creating a Bakuchiol strain that can survive the rigors of scaleup and win in manufacturing required significant enzyme improvement and unexpected whole genome edits that support the pathway. The Onyx allowed us to rapidly accomplish both goals in parallel, greatly accelerating our entire process,” said Andrew Horwitz, VP of Research and Development, Sestina Bio. Andrew continued, saying, “This fundamentally disrupts the status quo approach to strain optimization and allows us to expand our search for solutions across the entirety of cellular functions and systems.”

Sestina Bio’s success with the Onyx is an excellent example showing the power of genome engineering to unlock massive market opportunities even for startup organizations with limited R&D resources,” said Sri Kosaraju, CEO, Inscripta. “Each bioproduct success will be important to the bioeconomy and will also demonstrate how innovation and collaboration are important in advancing the overall effort,” he went on to say. “Inscripta is committed to developing critical technologies that enable scientists to bolster and expand domestic biomanufacturing, and spur new, safe, and secure biotech innovations.”

About Sestina Bio

Sestina Bio, LLC’s mission is to create a technology centric, R&D platform that will tackle some of the largest challenges of the 21st century and provide cutting edge solutions to sustainably feed, clothe, and keep healthy the growing world population. Our approach is to integrate novel high dimensional data to build predictive models that guide the design and selection of strains that excel in scaled manufacturing.

For more information, please visit

About Inscripta®

Inscripta, Inc. is a life science technology company enabling scientists to realize the full potential of the bioeconomy. A global leader in automated, CRISPR-based gene editing, the company develops tools that accelerate genome-scale editing. Inscripta’s Onyx® Platform, is a complete solution that delivers the power of scalable genome engineering with push-button simplicity. The proprietary portfolio of MADzyme nucleases deliver proven performance across species including microbes, plants, and mammalian systems. Inscripta supports customers around the world from facilities in Boulder, Colorado; San Diego and Pleasanton, California; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

To learn more, visit and follow @InscriptaInc.

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