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  • Synthetic biology has ‘vast potential’ across industries

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    The emerging field of synthetic biology will unlock several new realms of innovation, ranging from environmentally friendly luxury materials to novel cancer therapeutics and even using DNA as a new form of data storage. Not only that, synthetic biology potentially provides advanced solutions to global challenges such as food insecurity, climate change, and plastic pollution.

    That’s according to GlobalData research, which explains that synthetic biology, commonly abbreviated to synbio, involves changing the genetic material of existing biological systems by copying, cutting, or moving segments of DNA to give them new functions and characteristics.

    GlobalData’s latest report, “Synthetic Biology,” highlights numerous industries, including agriculture, consumer, energy, food, healthcare, industrial materials, mining, packaging, and technology, that will be impacted.

    Isabel Al-Dhahir, Senior Analyst in the Thematic Intelligence team at GlobalData, said: “The possibilities of synthetic biology are boundless. Pushed forward by the growing demand for sustainable materials, environmental remediation, and innovative therapies, synthetic biology could transform numerous industries. Growing enthusiasm saw venture capital investment into synthetic biology surpass $1 billion in 2023, a more than tenfold increase since 2016.”

    Al-Dhahir continued: “Synthetic alternatives to meat, precious metals, natural fibers, fuel, and medicines, among others, continue to be developed. The environmental benefits of such innovations are often the focus, but these developments will also facilitate the next stage of supply chain management.”

    Advancements in synthetic biology could enable lean supply chain management, decrease reliance on imports, and further support reshoring efforts. Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and sustained by the US-China trade wars, supply chain shifts are already visible as countries and corporations try to protect themselves against further disruption.

    Al-Dhahir concluded: “Synthetic biology is a very young and promising field with enormous potential. However, the market has struggled to find a firm footing. Mixed public perception towards genetically modified consumer products and unclear regulations poses a significant barrier. Additionally, the field is largely dominated by startups that do not have sufficient capital to scale their production. In healthcare and technology, however, there is increased mobilization in this market by the likes of Janssen, Novartis, and Microsoft.”

    Photo by Warren Umoh on Unsplash


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien