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Synthetic biology offers opportunity across many industries, but the ultimate prize may be health care. The millions of dollars investors have poured into companies developing CAR-T cell therapies and gene editing technologies points to growing confidence in the power of gene manipulation to generate novel, approvable therapeutics, even if for now these are just the early steps toward creating fully synthetic organisms.
Molecular Assemblies Inc. aims to commercialize a “green” approach to DNA synthesis called EcoDNA. The start-up expects the biologically and enzymatically based technology to produce DNA strands up to 30 times longer than those made with the classical chemical methods.
The year might have started off slow for start-up fundraising ($398.7 million in Q1), but during the second quarter of 2013 life science companies rallied and earned a whopping $907.2 million. There were several reverse licensing arrangements as well as alliances involving large molecule-focused start-ups.
Roche is optioning Isis’ Huntington’s disease antisense candidates in a deal worth $282 million and Thermo Fisher paid just over $15 billion for Life Technologies. Biopharma financing was up 23% to $1.2 billion, device fundraising down 35% to $338 million.
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