Novel Biotechnology


What we've been up to

Dr. Matthew Weinstock joins Novel Biotechnology Inc as CTO

Matthew Weinstock, PhD, is an accomplished biotech executive with experience working in both start-up and growth-stage companies, having built and led a scientific organization with close to 200 employees.

His technical expertise spans protein engineering, drug discovery, advanced biomanufacturing, and synthetic biology. His efforts have led to technologies that have been successfully commercialized or have resulted in technology development partnerships with top-10 pharma companies.

Prior to joining Novel Biotechnologies, Dr. Weinstock served as Chief Technology Officer at Absci Corporation, a biotech company developing advanced technologies for drug discovery and biomanufacturing. Prior to Absci, Dr. Weinstock was employed at the synthetic biology firm Synthetic Genomics, Inc., where he worked in the R&D group of Dr. Daniel Gibson.

Dr. Weinstock has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Utah School of Medicine where he was part of a group focused on the advancement of mirror-image display technologies to discover D-peptide therapeutics against emerging infectious diseases.

What is Plasmid DNA?

A plasmid is a small circular DNA molecule found in bacteria and some other microscopic organisms. Plasmids are physically separate from chromosomal DNA and replicate independently. They typically have a small number of genes — notably, some associated with antibiotic resistance — and can be passed from one cell to another. Scientists use recombinant DNA methods to splice genes that they want to study into a plasmid. When the plasmid copies itself, it also makes copies of the inserted gene.

Illustration of a bacterium showing chromosomal DNA and plasmids (Not to scale)


Plasmids are considered replicons, units of DNA capable of replicating autonomously within a suitable host. However, plasmids, like viruses, are not generally classified as life.[6] Plasmids are transmitted from one bacterium to another (even of another species) mostly through conjugation.[7] This host-to-host transfer of genetic material is one mechanism of horizontal gene transfer, and plasmids are considered part of the mobilome. Unlike viruses, which encase their genetic material in a protective protein coat called a capsid, plasmids are “naked” DNA and do not encode genes necessary to encase the genetic material for transfer to a new host; however, some classes of plasmids encode the conjugative “sex” pilus necessary for their own transfer. Plasmids vary in size from 1 to over 400 kbp,[8] and the number of identical plasmids in a single cell can range anywhere from one to thousands under some circumstances.