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At SynBioBeta SF 2015, Companies Announce Exciting Partnerships to Accelerate Design-to-Creation Pipeline

This year at the SynBioBeta San Francisco Conference there was a lot of exciting news and innovations from the numerous companies in attendance. However, some of the most special moments were the announcement of partnerships designed to accelerate the rate at which we conduct research and convert that research to useful products. The trend most recognized by the companies in attendance is that we need to advance the rate of innovation by shortening the pipeline of design to creation.

At the conference Desktop Genetics, an online DNA design software program that focuses on CRISPR/Cas9, announced its partnership with Transcriptic, a cloud-controlled automated laboratory, to provide customers with a seamless design to delivery experience. Desktop Genetics encases powerful, proprietary algorithms in a clean browser interface that empowers customers to design CRISPR libraries in a high-throughput fashion. With this newly announced partnership, those designed libraries will be automatically sent to Transcriptic’s lab where they will be assembled by robotic Workcells. This full workflow saves the user many time-intensive manual steps and frees them to focus solely on their research. Yvonne Linney, COO of Transcriptic, commented:

Combining our workflows with DTG will offer the fastest method of progressing from sequence design to high-throughput molecular biology. By removing human error from tedious cloning steps at the bench, researchers will benefit from unmatched reproducibility which in turn will increase the efficiency in downstream cellular analysis.

In a similar partnership Gen9 announced they will be working with Benchling to launch a new platform for DNA design and ordering. They will use Gen9’s powerful online DNA design portal with Benchling powering the DNA synthesis and library construction.

Kevin Munnelly, President and CEO of Gen9 explained that

by combining high-throughput DNA design and manufacture, we are making it easier than ever to explore more sequence space using synthetic genes of unmatched quality and value. This will enable scientists to think bigger and take on more aggressive projects that might not have otherwise been possible.

In a similar but more broadly applicable partnership Sigma-Aldrich announced a partnership with GENEWIZ and Oxford Genetics to streamline the custom-DNA ordering process. Using Sigma-Aldrich’s eCommerce platform, customers can order synthesized DNA from GENEWIZ, which can then be assembled and delivered in one of Oxford Genetics SnapFast expression vector. By combining their services Sigma-Aldrich, GENEWIZ, and Oxford Genetics have reduced a three-step process into a single, straight-forward ordering experience that significantly reduces the delivery of expression-ready genes from the initial concept.

Continuing the trend of DNA synthesis companies partnering with application and product-oriented companies, as previously detailed, Twist Bioscience and Gingko Bioworks made a 100 million base pair deal to expedite microbe engineering efforts for industrial production of high-value products.

Another huge trend at SynBioBeta SF 2015 was the importance of automated record-keeping for reliable reproducibility in science, noting that discoveries are much easier to make when experiments are carried out in a fully documented and standardized fashion. One of the leaders in this field Riffyn, was excited to announce its software was chosen by GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) in a new partnership. While this news was verbally announced by Riffyn Founder and CEO Tim Gardner during the conference, the full nature of their partnership has not yet been detailed in a press release.

The excitement for synthetic biology is truly international and the UK has been putting extra effort in recruiting talent and promoting the amazing companies and opportunities in its country. That’s why this year at SynBioBeta San Francisco, 13 of the UK’s leading synthetic biology companies traveled to California in conjunction with the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to promote synbio industry to their American counterparts. This trade mission was led by SynbiCITE, a forward-thinking Innovation and Knowledge Centre dedicated to transitioning synthetic biology from laboratory to industry. In an effort to ease the potential move to UK, SynbiCITE and UKTI provided a wide network of contacts, as well as expert advice and support for any interested participants.

These were just a few of the big announcements at SynBioBeta San Francisco Conference 2015. For a quick look into some of the most fascinating updates from various companies in attendance check out our summary article here.

Spencer R. Scott

Spencer R. Scott

I am a recent PhD graduate from the Bioengineering Department at UC San Diego, currently working as a Scientist in cancer immunotherapy at Cell Design Labs. I'm the project lead of the development team engineering our SynNotch technology for immunotherapy applications.

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