Developing End-of-life Solutions Through Raw Material Innovation for the Textile Industry

Good Fibes aims to grow textile fibers in a lab using cellular agriculture. The company will use engineered proteins as biological building blocks to produce fibers that are renewable, biodegradable, non-toxic, and higher quality than current textiles. Engineered protein-based fibers can serve as an alternative to petroleum-based fibers which currently dominate the global fiber production. Natural protein-based fibers like silk or wool are biologically limited in their performance and supply consistency and therefore do not meet industry standards. Bioengineered natural fibers will address these limitations by having reliable year-round production and tunable properties such as elasticity, tensile strength, and dye affinity.

Critical Need for this Technology

The fashion industry is an ancient industry with a monolithic infrastructure optimized for just a few materials. Modern day fashion retailers aim to make clothing as cheaply and quickly as possible. With current little government regulation, the fashion industry has many detrimental consequences socially and for the environment. Current high-performance textiles are manufactured using petroleum-derived feedstocks and energy intensive processing with limited biodegradability. Synthetic materials have dominated the global fiber market since the 1990s. Synthetic petroleum-derived materials can take up to 200 years to biodegrade. There is growing consumer demand for apparel and fashion brands, which continue to pledge increased production. There are trending global regulations for sustainable and circular textiles. Our next-generation sustainable fibers are aimed to address the growing global fiber production demand, while simultaneously mitigating the harmful environmental effects of current textile production methods.

Supplemental Need for this Technology

To address the deleterious environmental, cultural, and social impacts of the fashion industry, innovation is needed to ensure future textiles are high-performing, biodegradable, non-toxic, derived from renewable resources, and reliant on sustainable agroecological principles. As climate change and pollution awareness increases, there has been a shift in environmental needs and consumer preferences for more sustainable and eco-conscious clothing. Secondhand markets from Global North to Global South leads to garment waste due to poor quality and ends up in landfills and waterways. Second-hand clothing waste concerning for public health.


  • Commercially scaled man-made protein-based fibers are in its infancy
  • The current production methods for companies in material innovation rely on excessive resources due to sacrificial requirements of the organism during the harvesting period
  • Next-generation material innovation startups currently rely on recombinant silk protein instead of exploration of other desirable proteins
  • Additional next-generation material innovation startups are focused on developing materials from byproducts of unsustainable practices (this is not transformative)

Potential Markets

Our identified customer segments are procurement/sourcing, operations/manufacturing, and product/design managers at vertically-integrated luxury brands, such as Max Mara and Hermes, and businesses with a sustainability-focused business models, such as Lululemon Athletica and Patagonia. Not all luxury apparel brands are the same, there are tiers based on their supply chain, supply control, and factories used for product manufacturing. Vertical integration is a process that companies employ to ensure strict supply chain traceability and tight supply control to ensure the highest quality products. It is an essential characteristic of our segment differentiation because it is associated with long-term partnerships and indicative of high-quality products. We consider the total available market as the global textile market valued at $944 billion, the serviceable available market is the global eco-fiber market currently valued at $43 billion (Grand View Research). Our serviceable obtainable market is the U.S. eco-luxury apparel market.

Other potential use-cases include defense, aerospace, cosmetic, and biomedical applications.

Key Innovation

Good Fibes aims to provide consistent, high-performance, protein-based fibers to fabric manufacturers.

Team Overview

Alexis N. Peña, Ph.D, Co-Founder: Peña completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in May 2023. She has over 10 years of experience in tissue engineering and biomaterials research in institutions in the U.S. and the U.K. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from Syracuse University. At Johns Hopkins, her research has focused on the translation of regenerative immunotherapies for knee osteoarthritis and breast tissue reconstruction in women’s health. She has co-authored 9 publications spanning regenerative medicine strategies and in vitro cell platforms to ultimately provide regenerative medicine solutions. Peña will apply her expertise in manufacturing and tissue engineering strategies to innovate materials for the textile industry.

Lauren Blake, Ph.D., Co-Founder: Blake received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in May 2023. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. Her doctoral thesis work involved studying how proteins are translated from mRNA, which she accomplished via the development of biomolecular tools to control RNA metabolism and protein synthesis (translation) in living cells. Having published 3 papers in the field of translation control, with one currently under review, and others in nano-manufacturing and biomedical engineering fields, Blake is an expert in bioengineering and molecular biology.

Technology Profile

Status: TRL 2. Good Fibes demonstrated lab-scale extrusion methods for fiber production with biodegradable and renewable raw materials.
Primary industry: Textile Industry
Category (i.e. tech keywords): Materials/Fabrics
Estimated annual revenue: NA
Employs: NA
Social challenge: Reimagining the materials our clothes are made from. Currently synthetic petroleum-derived materials dominate global fiber production.
R&D commercial collaborator: NA