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Top Ten Suppliers of Synthetic Biology Technology

  • March 2013
  • -
  • BCC Research
  • -
  • 54 pages


Table of Contents


Recent advances allowing for the better understanding of the ways in which living DNA creates the materials of life have opened remarkable new possibilities in materials science and chemical engineering. According to physicist Freeman Dyson, “The ability to design and create new forms of life marks a turning point in the history of our species and our planet.”

These advances also mark an economic turning point, creating a market vision of synthetic life forms and life processes tailored to produce specific substances. The desired yield of such substances as biofuels can be measured in millions of tons, whereas pharmaceuticals can be measured in grams or milligrams.

The door that is opening is likely to affect important markets for decades. Intense research and development continues to be both privately and publically funded, but the work has emphatically moved out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. Major corporations are putting new intellectual properties to work in new factories in the U.S. and abroad.

The players on this new field include new companies that come directly out of university research riding large holdings of intellectual property and established multinational giants that have the networks necessary to distribute and market the new materials.

Between these two ends of the spectrum, companies are emerging that can intermediately supply the substances and services that bridge the gaps. The result is intricate patterns of interconnection between layers of the new supply chains. Acquisitions up and down these supply chains are frequent, as capital is freely available due to the obvious potential.

This document examines 10 of the top companies in the field and discusses their positions in these complex patterns of supply and demand, as well as their investments and alliances. The chosen companies have effectively positioned themselves to connect the ends of the chain from the specialized tools and materials end or acquired the ability to make the most effective use of these tools and materials.

BCC Research selected 10 companies that deserve recognition as leaders in the industry. Some are large established multinationals that have embraced the new technology. Others are startup pioneers that grow directly out of the research and development process. They are:

Life Technologies
Synthetic Genomics
Amrys Biotechnologies
Scarab Genomics
British Petroleum

Any top 10 list has subjective elements, and thus five other companies are profiled in less detail.


This document is a specialty report related to BCC Research report BIO066B by John Bergin. The goal of this document is to provide a more in-depth look at the top-tier synthetic biology companies, as well as some of the second-tier companies that are sure to play important roles in the years to come. More specifically, the objectives include identifying companies that are considered the leaders in their fields, as well as the technological means these companies are using to exploit their markets and dominate their fields.

Synthetic biology markets reviewed in this report include:

Markets by end-use segment, such as research and development (R&D), diagnostics/pharmaceuticals, energy, chemicals, and agriculture.
Markets by product type, including enabling products, biologic components, integrated systems, and enabled products.

Other major factors used to determine top companies in the field include:

Alliances, mergers, and acquisition strategies.
Intellectual property (i.e., patent) portfolios.


The study compiles existing and future synthetic biology products and technologies that will be commercially important in the main end -user segments of life science research, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, energy, chemicals, and agriculture.

This report will be of particular interest to pharmaceutical, chemical, enzyme, energy, agricultural, biotechnology and nanobiotechnology companies, as well as suppliers of genomics tools, DNA synthesis and DNA-sequencing products. It will also help professionals within governments and regulatory agencies to understand the scope and pace of synthetic biology technologies as they reach the market.


This report focuses on 10 selected synthetic biology companies and the key areas in the field driving the industry growth that allows these companies to succeed. Key market segments include synthetic genes, chassis organisms, biofuels, specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Another key area is industry structure, with a focus on strategic alliances and acquisitions, as well as pertinent patent information.


Based on primary and secondary market analysis, this report analyzes the top 10 companies in DNA sequencing, as well as several additional companies worth recognizing.

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