This years iGEM team Munich, hosted by the Simmel lab, wins multiple trophies in the overgraduate section at the iGEM giant jamboree: "Best Manufacturing Project", "Best Presentation", "Best Wiki", "Best Software Tool", "Best Entrepreneurship" and last but not least 1st Runner Up Overgrad (out of over 350 teams)! This marks the third year in a row that the iGEM team Munich climbs the podium in Boston.
Antimicrobial resistance is a major emerging threat as reported by the WHO. Worldwide implementation of bacteriophage therapy, a 100-year old treatment employing the natural enemies of bacteria, is impeded by the lack of common manufacturing procedures which meet international quality and safety standards. Based on synthetic biology we created Phactory, a cell-free molecular assembly line for bacteriophages. We demonstrate expression of several phages including T7, MS2 and 3S at clinically relevant concentrations. Exploiting the open nature of cell-free systems, Phactory enables modular composition of bacteriophages with engineered proteins while remaining GMO-free. We developed a quality control structure utilizing state-of-the-art bioinformatics, as well as purification and encapsulation protocols. To expand our production variety while reducing cost, we optimized and engineered home-made E. coli cell-extract. Compared to traditional manufacturing procedures, Phactory requires 2.5% of the production volume and demands no special biosafety regulations to yield bacteriophages ready for therapy.
Congratulations for another successful year to all the students and supervisors!