Synthetic Biology has a new ally in the US

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (ronstik)
© Getty Images \ (ronstik)

Related tags biotech Genomatica Synthetic biology

Beauty ingredient maker Genomatica is one of three biotech companies that have teamed up to found The SynBio Coalition.

“Over the last decade, synthetic biology's advances have moved out of the lab and into the real economy, making the potential of this disruptive technology increasingly apparent,” ​says Christina Smolke, CEO and Co-Founder of Antheia, a California-based biotech company leveraging fermentation tech to produce and scale “plant-inspired” ​molecules for use in drug and medical applications.

“As the technology continues to scale,” ​she says, “it's essential that industry and government work together to ensure that synbio's advances translate into meaningful innovations that improve people's lives.”

Antheia is one of the three synthetic biology companies on the steering committee of The SynBio Coalition​. And Smolke shared her remarks in today’s media release announcing the new organization.

Economic and environmental objectives of the The SynBio Coalition

Gingkgo Bioworks is also on the Coalition’s steering committee. Readers of Cosmetics Design know Ginkgo Bioworks best for innovations in fragrance, like this installation at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum​ and this partnership with fragrance and flavors manufacturer Robertet​.

That company’s Co-Founder and CEO Jason Kelly “see[s] the potential for biology to transform all the industries that produce physical goods.”

And he points to role that government support can have in the development of a strong in-country biotech industry, saying in today’s media release that, “The ongoing efforts of the US government to invest in next generation technologies, including synthetic biology, are laying the groundwork for continued investment, governance, and prioritization of this transformative technology at a national scale.”

The SynBio Coalition is dedicated to making sure that the US continues to have a leadership position in the synthetic biology industry. “The coalition believes that continued investment in synthetic biology, research infrastructure and manufacturing capacity is critical…” ​according to the release. And it highlights three advantages that ongoing investment and US leadership will yield: both STEM and manufacturing jobs, supply chain security for “Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), Key Starting Materials (KSMs), and widely used chemicals and materials,” ​and a greener economy.

Genomatica adds beauty industry knowhow to the SynBio Coalition

Genomatica serves the plastics and cosmetics industries and is at work developing further biotech ingredients for use by the apparel industry, the home care industry, the auto industry, etc.

In 2018, Genomatica introduced its biotech butylene glycol (known as Brontide) to the beauty ingredient marketplace.​ Now the company is a part of the founding alliance behind The SynBio Coalition.  

Christophe Schilling, Co-Founder and CEO of Genomatica explains what he sees as the potential of synthetic biology, saying, “America's strengths in synbio innovation and growing crops can power a new era of industrial growth and prosperity, while making the products we use every day, better and more sustainable.Synbio manufacturing of widely-used materials can bring back many industries that have moved overseas.”

And he adds, “This coalition is a great step in building broad support for the policies needed to drive this opportunity.”

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