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Life Technologies’ Recent Deals Reflect $100M Initiative in Synthetic Biology

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implementing its plans, which include developing a dedicated research group, in-licensing and acquisition, and other strategic moves needed to establish itself as a leading supplier of research services, laboratory instruments, and supplies to customers that specialize in synthetic biology. It’s a global market that Genome Web predicts will grow to $2.4 billion over the next three years.

“When we decide at Life to spend $100 million, we thoroughly think through the strategy,” says Wood, who also sits on the board of SG Biofuels and who oversees Life’s minority investment in Synthetic Genomics. He described it as “one of the medium-size initiatives” the company is doing.

Life’s $350 million acquisition in August of Ion Torrent, a leader in rapid gene sequencing, was not directly related to the company’s synthetic biology initiative, but it helped. While Ion Torrent was acquired as part of the genetic systems business, Wood says, “Simplifying the sequencing, and making it more affordable and faster is one area where there is overlap” with synthetic biology. Likewise, Wood says the company’s cell systems division makes dyes that detect certain molecules, which is useful as companies like Synthetic Genomics analyze cells that they have genetically engineered.

“So there are synergies across all of our divisions with this initiative,” Wood said.

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