Building Technology at the Genetic Level
Our ability to design and engineer biological components and systems at the genetic level has increased substantially over the previous decade. In 2010, the first self-replicating cell was created from artificial DNA, which was built by researchers out of chemically synthesized oligonucleotides. Since then, the cost per megabase of DNA sequence has decreased by 10x (and by 20,000x since 2007). To put this in perspective, this drastic improvement in technology development and cost reduction has happened 300x faster than what would be predicted by Moore’s law. This technology breakthrough is enabling researchers to build from scratch and modify micro-organisms. By creating DNA with specific grammar rules, biologists can produce advanced tools, processes, and biomaterials (e.g., food, biofuels, biosensors, dyes, pharmaceuticals, enzymes) on top of which to build businesses. This is all happening at an explosive pace. In fact, revenue earned through genetically engineered organisms (applied to pharmaceuticals, crops, and industrial biotechnology) may already account for up to 2 percent of U.S. GDP.
Synthetic biology presents a meaningful frontier investment opportunity area for the next generation. The possibilities that computational biologists are unlocking by designing organisms specifically to meet certain needs, as opposed to using the known material that fits best, will unlock huge wealth creation through science. This shift from finding a “good enough” solution to designing the optimal solution, potentially going beyond known materials, presents an economy with no limitations and a natural world with fewer rules and constraints. At Bee Partners we believe that Machines Will Win, and when living beings are genetically created and modified to produce things for us (since biology, like computing, is based on digital code), they will indeed have become the ultimate machine.
This insight paper covers:
- Synthetic Biology As The New Production Apparatus—A New Spectrum of Possibilities
- The Synthetic Biology Stack—A Nascent, Rapidly Evolving Sandbox
- Applications and Opportunity Areas
- Industry Challenges—Building the Underlying Infrastructure
- Archetypes to Avoid
- Appendix—Interesting SynBio Startups
About Bee Partners
Founded in 2009, Bee Partners is a pre-Seed venture capital firm that partners with revolutionary Founders working at the forefront of human-machine convergence across technologies that include robotics, AI, voice, i4.0, and synthetic biology. The firm leverages a singular approach to detecting new and emerging patterns of business as well as inside access to fertile but often overlooked entrepreneurial ecosystems to identify early opportunity in large, untapped markets. Bee’s portfolio companies consistently realize growth at levels that outstrip industry averages and secure follow-on capital from the world's top VCs.
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