Silicon Valley Leads Investments in Synthetic Biology

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In London, SynBioBeta reports that over $1 billion has been invested in synthetic biology over the last twelve months—with Silicon Valley leading the investments.

According to the company, the falling cost of reading and writing DNA is making it easier and cheaper to engineer. Notable companies include Ginkgo Bioworks, which raised $154 million, and Twist Bioscience, which raised $143.1 million.

Tech founders are active investors in the space, with Yahoo!’s Jerry Yang investing in Zymergen and transcriptic; PayPal’s Peter Thiel investing in transcriptic, Emerald Therapeutics, and Bolt Threads; and Microsoft’s Bill Gates investing in editas Medicine.

The report also notes that DNA reading costs have declined from around $50 in 1992 to  nearly $0.000001 in 2016. Over the same timeframe, writing costs have come from about $50 to $0.10.

The number of companies entering the synthetic biology space is also growing at a fast rate. There were just 88 companies in the industry in 2001, compared with 411 in 2016.