Which Top 100 Innovators are scoping out SynBio?
With synthetic biology thrown about as being one of the greatest technologies of today with massive potential, and the UK government citing this as ‘one of the most promising areas of modern science’ and one if its identified ‘eight great technologies’, we’re curious as to how this lines up with this week’s Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators list. Although synthetic biology techniques and applications are advancing rapidly, perhaps they are ‘not quite there yet’ and not making a huge splash in terms of this global innovation list (measured according to a series of patent-related metrics that get to the essence of what it means to be truly innovative), however, the global multinationals are definitely keeping their eyes on this and are already investing. A quick google search indicates the following companies, all listed in the Thompson Reuters Top 100 Innovators list, are already invested in, or dabbling in, synthetic biology applications:
- Chevron have invested in Sample6, a company applying synthetic biology to food safety testing. They also have partnerships with biofuels company Solazyme and LS9.
- Dow Chemical Company also has partnerships with Solazyme, and biofuels company Algenol, as well as Opx Bio.
- DuPont partners with Goodyear for the synthetic production of rubber, and OligoCo (formerly Blue Heron Biotechnology) on developing DNA synthesis technology. They also acquired Danisco and Genencor, Genencor which bought them the product is Sorona – a polymer produced with the aid of engineered yeast.
- Exxon Mobil has a research agreement with Synthetic Genomics for research and development of algal biofuels.
- Goodyear are interested in the synthetic production of rubber, and are working on this with DuPont.
- IBM Research hosts a Functional Genomics & Systems Biology Group, and is working on a DNA Transistor and supporting other synbio projects.
- Michelin, like Goodyear, are interested in the synthetic production of rubber for tyres, and are working with Amyris on this.
- Microsoft Research has a group focussing on Biological Computation, and a strong interest in synthetic biology.
- Roche is working with IBM on nanopore based DNA sequencing, and subsidiary company 454 works almost exclusively on high-throughput sequencing technology.
…and these are only the ones that we noticed from the top 100 list, on a very quick glance. Have we missed any? And more importantly, how long will it be before a true synthetic biology company makes this hot list? Let us know your thoughts below, or join the discussion on LinkedIn.
Want to know more? You can check out how synthetic biology will change your industry here. Or, you might be interested in attending SynBio 2014. SynBio 2014 is the first fully commercial conference and exhibition to recognise and respond to the opportunities raised by Synthetic Biology, focussing on the research, innovation and commercialisation opportunities within this sector.