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Bugs Making Drugs

At their core, synthetic biologists seek to make the world a better place, and one of the most pressing areas is health care.

If the dream of synthetic biology pans out, pharmaceutical companies will more quickly identify and create useful drugs.

They’ll also make them for less. At SynBioBeta London next week in the UK, entrepreneurs from companies making pharmaceutical and healthcare products will share how they’re using synthetic biology to retool their pipelines to increase productivity and their rates of discovery.

Steve Chambers, the new CEO of SynbiCITE
, the organization dedicated to industrial adoption and use of synthetic biology, will be moderating the session. Steve knows about billion dollar drugs. He was the director of Gene Expression at Vertex Pharmaceuticals before joining Imperial College.

The roster will include Lisa Caproni, a senior scientist at Touchlight Genetics,
 who will talk about Touchlight’s DNA technologies with applications including DNA vaccines and immunotherapy. The company has streamlined the DNA production process and have cut down the need for antibiotic resistance markers and origins of replication.

CRISPR has made a big splash in the world of pharmaceutical (we’ve covered Caribou on our blog before). Riley Doyle, CEO of Desktop Genetics and Chris Thorne, Gene Editing Community Specialist at Horizon Discovery

 will be talking about their new partnership that pairs Desktop’s software platform for CRISPR with Horizon’s customized cell lines.

Meanwhile, Xavier Duportet, founder of Eligo Bioscience,
 will discuss how his startup uses CRISPR to engineer the human microbiome. The bugs in your body can impact your health in everything from gastroenteritis to heart disease. Eligo uses the gene editing technique to target bad bacteria while leaving the good ones untouched.

On the drug production side of things, Arzeda
, which earlier signed an agreement to create novel seeds with DuPont, has turned its platform technology to creating specialty chemicals and pharma intermediates. Alex Zanghellini, the CEO will discuss the company’s journey thus far.

All of these companies are using synthetic biology in novel ways to help cure disease–from the latest in gene editing to microbiome engineering to mass manufacturing platforms. With these promising developments in the industry, we’re all looking forward to a healthier future.

John Cumbers

John Cumbers

John Cumbers is the founder of SynBioBeta. John is passionate about education and on the use and adoption of biological technologies. He has received multiple awards and grants from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences for his work in the field. John has been involved in multiple startups such as those producing food for space, microbes to extract lunar and martian resources, and hoverboards! John is an active investor through the DCVC SynBioBeta Fund and his synthetic biology syndicate on AngelList.

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