Synthetic Genomics (company)

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Synthetic Genomics Inc. (SGI), is a private company located in La Jolla, California that is focused on the field of synthetic biology. SGI designs and builds biological systems to address global sustainability problems.

Synthetic Genomics
Synthetic Genomics
FounderJ. Craig Venter Ph.D.
TypePrivate company
Area served
Bioinformatics Tools
(Full list of products)
Services (Full list of services)
Key people
  • Synthetic Genomics Vaccines (SGVI)
  • Genovia Bio

Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology and engineering, combining fields such as biotechnology, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, systems biology, biophysics, computer engineering, and genetic engineering. Synthetic Genomics uses techniques such as software engineering, bioprocessing, bioinformatics, biodiscovery, analytical chemistry, fermentation, cell optimization, and DNA synthesis to design and build biological systems. The company produces or performs research in the fields of sustainable bio-fuels, insect resistant crops, transplantable organs, targeted medicines, DNA synthesis instruments as well as a number of biological reagents.

Core marketsEdit

SGI mainly operates in three end markets: research, bioproduction and applied products. The research segment focuses on genomics solutions for academic and commercial research organizations. The commercial products and services include instrumentation, reagents, DNA synthesis services, and bioinformatics services and software. In 2015, the company launched the BioXP 3200 system,[1] a fully automated benchtop instrument that produces DNA fragments from many different sources for genomic data.

The company's efforts in bio-based production are intended to improve both existing production hosts and develop entirely new synthetic production hosts with the goal of more efficient routes to bioproducts. yes SGI has a number of commercial as well as research and development stage programs across a variety of industries. Some of these research partnerships include:

Partner Focus Target
United Therapeutics Organ Transplantation To reduce the risk of rejection in organ transplantation[2]
Novartis Vaccines Vaccines To stockpile synthetic flu vaccines for rapid response to global flu outbreaks[3]
ADM Food Oil To provide nutritional oils that overcome cost barrier in multiple applications[4]
Monsanto Agriculture To map microbiome metagenome related to plant health and crop yield[5]
ExxonMobil Biodiesel To develop an algae platform that can produce economically viable biodiesel[6]


Synthetic Genomics was founded in the spring of 2005 by J. Craig Venter, Nobel Laureate Hamilton O. Smith, Juan Enriquez, and David Kiernan. Venter (and Smith)'s previous company, Celera Genomics, was a driving force in the race to sequence the human genome.[7] The firm takes its name from the phrase synthetic genomics which is a scientific discipline of synthetic biology related to the generation of organisms artificially using genetic material.[8][9]

Many of SGI's collaborations have been with energy companies. In 2007, SGI worked with BP to commercialize microbial-based processes for increasing the conversion and recovery of subsurface hydrocarbons.[10] In 2009, SGI received funding from ExxonMobil to produce biofuels on an industrial-scale using recombinant algae and other microorganisms.[11][12] The company purchased an 81 acre site in Southern California's Imperial valley to produce algae fuel for their collaboration with Exxon Mobil.[13] They also signed a collaborative agreement with New England Biolabs to Launch Gibson Assembly Master Mix Product for Synthetic and Molecular Biology Applications in 2012.[14]

In 2010, Synthetic Genomics spun off a new subsidiary, Synthetic Genomics Vaccines Inc., to develop next generation vaccines[15]

In 2014 SGI expanded into the field of organ transplantation with a collaborative agreement with United Therapeutics valued at $50M[16] and brought in Oliver Fetzer as CEO.[17]


  1. ^ "SGI-DNA Launches the BioXp™ 3200 System Early Access Program". SGI-DNA.
  2. ^ "Synthetic Genomics Inc. Expands Collaborative Research and Development Agreement with Lung Biotechnology PBC, a Subsidiary of United Therapeutics Corporation, to Develop Organs for Transplantation".
  3. ^ "Novartis Teams with Synthetic Genomics Vaccines to Develop Flu Seed Virus Banks".
  4. ^ "Synthetic Genomics and ADM partner for omega-3 DHA".
  5. ^ "Monsanto Acquires Parts of Agradis, Partners with Synthetic Genomics".
  6. ^ "Exxon Sinks $600M Into Algae-Based Biofuels in Major Strategy Shift".
  7. ^ "About Synthetic Genomics". Synthetic Genomics' corporate website. Archived from the original on September 24, 2005. Retrieved November 26, 2005.
  8. ^ Whitehouse, David (July 4, 2005). "Venter revives synthetic bug talk". BBC.
  9. ^ Pennisi, E. (2010). "Genomics. Synthetic genome brings new life to bacterium". Science. 328 (5981): 958–959. doi:10.1126/science.328.5981.958. PMID 20488994.
  10. ^ Press Release
  11. ^ Juha-Pekka Tikka : Craig Venter Has Algae Biofuel in Synthetic Genomics’ Pipeline. Xconomy San Diego. 6/4/09.
  12. ^ "Scientist on plan to turn algae to fuel". NPR. July 15, 2009.
  13. ^ Press Release
  14. ^ Article
  15. ^ Press Release
  16. ^ Article
  17. ^ Union Tribune Article

External linksEdit