EMERGENCE OF BIOTECH STARTUPS AND ENTREPRENEURS
The 1970’s saw the creation of the world’s first recombinant human protein (insulin), a global industry that has grown to be worth more than US$35 billion. Today we are seeing new applications of applied biotech everywhere, from food, biomaterials, and medicine to even replacing old industrial processes.
In 2003, the Craig Venter led Human Genome Project was completed. This was an international research initiative to sequence and map all human genes. It has been critical to the opening up the field of genomics, bioinformatics and synthetic biology; and has provided us with an understanding of the code that underlies all forms of life on our planet.
The last decade has seen the economics of biotech fundamentally change. The exponential pace of advancement in information technologies is impacting the costs of performing basic biotech research. The cost of sequencing DNA has fallen by a factor 160 000x since 2001 and continues to fall.
Cost of DNA Sequencing
Parallel to the drastically decreasing costs associated with DNA sequencing, our ability to understand the vast amounts of data being produced is ever improving. This is mainly due to the rapid advancements in the field of bioinformatics and, in particular, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Data Processing Power
To add to the above, the development of efficient and reliable ways to make precise, targeted changes to the genome of living cells was a long-standing goal for biomedical researchers. This was achieved in 2007 when a technique known as CRISPR-Cas9 was developed. Over the following decade, this technique has been further improved and scientists are now able to efficiently and cheaply edit DNA.
Number of Publications Citing Gene Editing
The existence of these three elements demonstrates the macro trends behind what OneBio believes is about to usher in the “Age of Biology”. Today, biology is like computing in the late 1980s. It is now possible to build biotech companies at an investment level that's competitive with software startups.