July 04, 2022
Synthetic biology, the scientific field that combines the principles of engineering with molecular biology, is establishing itself as a vital component of the life sciences industry. Worldwide, the synthetic biology market was worth $7.5 billion in 2020, and a new report from BCC Research shows it will exceed $33 billion by 2026.
That’s a CAGR of more than 28%, opening up opportunities for investment, and pushing the tech envelope for everything from advanced biofuels and agriculture, to pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
The synthetic biology industry consists of three main pillars, namely enabling, core and enabled technologies. Enabling technologies are the engines that drive the development of synthetic biology. These are areas like DNA sequencing and genome editing.
Core products and technologies are created from the enabling technologies. These are the key tools used by cellular factories and systems to build the final, enabled products. They include standardized DNA parts, synthetic genes and chassis organisms.
Enabled products are the final output, with large downstream market potential. They’re the solutions like artificial human tissue, vaccines, and crops with desired traits, such as pest resistance or high yields.
“The potential for long-term future applications is absolutely colossal,” says Dr. Helia Jalili, Director of Advanced Materials and Technology at BCC Research, “but synthetic biology is already here and major opportunities are happening right now. We’re seeing a significant number of near-term commercial gains, and the list of new products and applications continues to grow on an almost daily basis. It’s a highly beneficial time for firms to be involved in this sector.
“Looking to the main end-user segments, healthcare is leading the synthetic biology charge. Our research indicates it was worth around $2.7 billion in 2020, with research and industrial chemicals taking second and third positions respectively. But many other niches are flourishing, too. Consumer products, food and beverage, as well as agriculture, are all powering up the growth curve.
“We’re even seeing significant movement within the synthetic biology software industry. These are the software products that allow scientists to manage data more efficiently, and design, develop and build custom DNA sequences. There’s even an AI-driven platform now, available for CRISPR gene editing.”
Unlike genetic engineering, which combines mostly natural components of a cell with one or more modified genes, synthetic biology takes a greater leap into artificial components and systems. It enables the insertion of multiple genes that are designed to work together.
These synthetic genetic circuits allow scientists to simultaneously coordinate multiple cellular processes. In biofuels, for example, metabolic pathways for cellulose digestion and for hydrocarbon fuel production are combined in a single microorganism, allowing it to break down cellulose and produce ethanol.
“Synthetic biology is on the leading edge of a transformation that brings biology and information sciences together,” says Dr. Jalili. “As a scientific study, you can liken it to computer programming. Computers uses binary code, a sequence of zeros and ones, to trigger gates and transistors. Cells use codes A, T, C and G, namely adenine, thymidine, cytosine and guanine, to trigger biochemical reactions.”
“The industry is primed and ready for a rapid growth upsurge that will just continue to accelerate,” continues Dr. Jalili. “To begin with, many of the applications have large addressable markets, and the penetration rate is still modest. Plus, the development of ever-more sophisticated technologies is acting as a growth catalyst. Watch out for the rise of ultra-high-throughput screening platforms for organism design, enzymatic DNA synthesis and novel gene-editing platforms. Combine these factors with the focus on value-added products, placing less emphasis on cost-sensitive, commodity products, and you’re looking at an industry that’s about to go stratospheric.”
Synthetic Biology: Global Markets( BIO066G )
Publish Date: Feb 2022
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