After more than a decade developing what it considers the world's first synthetic spider thread, Japanese biomaterial company Spiber Inc. is close to going to market with its first product — a gold-colored outer jacket woven from the material.

But the launch, planned for 2016, is only the beginning of the innovations the company has in mind with its new high-function protein material, according to Spiber chief and founder Kazuhide Sekiyama, 32.

The firm is aiming to replace a large portion of petrochemical polymers, such as nylon and polyester, with sustainable protein materials that are tailor-made at the molecular level.