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40 Ginkgo Welcomes Congress’s Vote to Establish National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology

Earlier today, the US Senate passed the final version of the FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which establishes a National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology. From here, the Act heads to the White House for President Biden’s signature. Its passage signifies the increasing importance of biotechnology and synthetic biology to competitiveness and national security. The Commission comes at a critical time for national and international biosecurity. As communities around the globe continue the fight against COVID-19, we are relying on synthetic biology to give us the tools to test, vaccinate, and protect global populations. Further, synthetic biology and biotechnology are vital tools in our efforts to address climate change and meet emissions reductions targets. It’s essential that governments do all they can to support the growth of these critical technologies.

 

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Ginkgo Bioworks
39 Bioeconomy Q3 Venture Investment Report 2021

After two massive quarters of fundraising in 2021, Q3 saw synthetic biology startups hit a huge new all-time high of $6.1 billion – 33% higher than the previous record. The total amount of funding going to synthetic biology startups in total so far this year hit $15 billion. Most of the growth is attributable to deal count hitting a record 73 transactions, while average deal size was down but still very respectable at $83.6 million. As we alluded to in Q2’s report, 2021 will not only be the best investment year ever for synthetic biology, but might bring in as much funding as all of the years from when we started counting in 2009 to 2020 combined ($21.5 billion).

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synbiobeta
38 Precisely targeting liver cancer with logic-gated gene therapy

Several small-molecule drugs and immunotherapies have been approved for liver cancer. But the lack of response in some patients—and potential side effects—underline the need for new treatments. Now, a Swiss team has designed a gene therapy that, by processing multiple cellular cues, precisely targeted liver cancer in mice.

Borrowing a concept from computation, scientists at ETH Zurich created genetic “logic gates” that can differentiate between tumor and nontumor cells based on their molecular profiles. A gene therapy using the system, combined with Roche’s antiviral Cytovene (ganciclovir), significantly reduced tumor burden in mice with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common type of liver cancer, while sparing healthy organs, according to results published in Science Translational Medicine.

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FierceBiotech
37 Provectus Algae Moves Sustainable Synthetic Biology Biomanufacturing Platform Forward with Pre-series A Funding

Provectus Algae (Provectus), an Australian synthetic biology company specializing in biomanufacturing to produce specialty ingredients for a wide array of industries and applications, has secured $11.4 million in a pre-series A funding round co-led by Hitachi Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Hitachi and Vectr Ventures of Hong Kong. The round was further supported by Possible Ventures, Acequia Capital, existing shareholders and additional private investors. The new funding will expedite the expansion of the company’s sustainable biomanufacturing platform, support R&D operations to further early stage product development capabilities, increase the commercial production capacity of future and current high-value products under development and drive the commercialization of multiple products already in the company development pipeline.

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synbiobeta
36 More than One Way to Fight Disease with Synbio Drugs

We need look no further than the addition of the Impossible Burger to Burger King’s menu to see that synthetic biology catalyzes change. But let’s look further anyway. Let’s recognize that synthetic biology can make the impossible happen in many areas besides food production. For example, synthetic biology can produce renewable fuels and manufactured goods and assist bioremediation efforts. All these applications help sustain the planet’s health. But what about our health?

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Genengnews
35 Oxford, GSK Partner on New Tech for Neuro Diseases

2 Dec. 2021. GlaxoSmithKline is funding a joint research center at University of Oxford to advance precision medical technologies, beginning with neurological disorders. GSK, a global drug maker based in London, is providing £30 million ($US 40 million) to begin the Oxford-GSK Institute of Molecular and Computational Medicine in the university’s medical school.

Oxford and GSK say the institute plans to build on advances is genomics and computational biology to improve success rates in treating patients, by discovering new therapies better matched to an individual’s genetic make-up. In addition, the institute expects to apply breakthroughs in machine learning and other types of artificial intelligence to gain new insights into pathology, particularly for measuring changes in a person’s body chemistry, down to fine cellular and protein levels.

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Science and Enterprise
34 Motif FoodWorks Announces the Commercial Launch of HEMAMI™, Food-Tech earns Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Status from FDA

The transformative meat-alt food tech offers the same taste and aroma of meat, without the animal

Company also announces plans for a new 65,000 sq. ft. market development center to support research and production of its plant-based food products

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synbiobeta
33 Researchers develop novel 3D printing technique to engineer biofilms

Anne S. Meyer, an associate professor of biology at the University of Rochester, and her collaborators at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, recently developed a 3D printing technique to engineer and study biofilms—three-dimensional communities of microorganisms, such as bacteria, that adhere to surfaces. The research provides important information for creating synthetic materials and in developing drugs to fight the negative effects of biofilms.

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EurekAlert
32 Synthetic Organisms Self-Replicate in a New Way

Growth is the hallmark of the living world. Splitting, budding, or birth, following growth in or on the body, is how living systems generally procreate. In an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (“Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms“) scientists report a new form of self-perpetuation that has not been observed in any living organism before. This new form of procreation arises spontaneously over a few days in synthetic, mobile spheres of frog (Xenopus) skin cells.

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Genengnews
31 Opentrons’ subsidiary Neochromosome and Mekonos announce new partnership to advance cell engineering for personalized medicine

The new collaboration will leverage Mekonos’ System on a Chip (SoC) delivery platform with Neochromosome’s designer chromosomes to accelerate next-generation cell therapy development

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Mekonos, Inc., a biotech platform company building the future of cell therapies on a chip, has announced a new partnership with Neochromosome, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Opentrons Labworks focused on the creation of genome-scale cell engineering solutions. The new collaboration is focused on developing new capabilities using cutting-edge synthetic biology technologies to produce advanced cell and gene therapies for personalized medicine.

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