Hot Seat: Joseph Heenan | Proteineer

Last updated on: 02 May, 2024
Foto: Shaulin Tran

In our latest Hot Seat Joseph Heenan, co-founder of new cluster member Proteineer, explains to us how they are using the power of AI and Big Data to transform protein engineering. For our readers they have an exclusive treat in store.

Dear Joseph, as Co-Founder of Proteineer you and your team are aiming to transform protein engineering. Can you introduce our readers to Proteineer, your team and what you are doing? 

We are a group of computer scientists and biologists who had the key insight in late 2021 that AI and Big Data would transform the field of industrial biotechnology and set out to build tools to help accelerate R&D in the field of synthetic biology. We have focused on building a search engine to help biologists find the best genes for their desired host organisms and desired products. We also provide bioinformatics consulting services to help out in difficult protein engineering projects. 

What makes your platform stand out? 

Our GeneStore platform was built from the ground up by and for biologists and is both feature-rich and affordable. We are the only company we know of with over 4 billion proteins integrated in a searchable database, and are further the only company that can go “beyond the tip of the iceberg” and look deep into the petabytes of data stored on the SRA to find homologous genes that may have previously been overlooked. Furthermore our AI-driven features for structure building and comparison, thermostability prediction, E. Coli expression prediction, substrate docking prediction and molecular dynamics simulation, all integrated directly into the search results, really make our platform one-of-a-kind. 

With our platform you can, in just a few clicks, get deduplicated results from dozens of metagenomic datasets, ranked by structure similarity, sequence similarity, docking, MD, or even your own model or any combination of the above. We further integrate patent data to help establish freedom-to-operate and clustering to help you optimize your experiments. 

Recently, you celebrated the official kickoff of the BMBF-supported research project biofactur-e. Can you tell us a bit more about the objective of the project?  

Overall the project focuses on turning unutilized CO2-waste streams into high-value proteins that can be used for animal nutrition or other applications. We are responsible for a range of bioinformatic services within the consortium – our GeneStore will be used to find genes that can help along each step of the complex metabolic pathways that need to be engineered in order to make this conversion economically feasible. 

How can interested members of our community find out more about Proteineer and the GeneStore platform? 

For a limited time we are offering a free discovery trial to anyone connected with or hearing about us via Chemie Cluster Bayern. We will take your search query, work to understand your goals, and demonstrate to you how our platform can help you find a better gene for recombinant expression. 

What an opportunity, thank you very much!

Joseph Heenan is co-founder of Proteineer and has over 15 years of experience in software development. He has also worked in Fortune 100 companies as well as in leadpositions in 3 startups.