Synthetic Genomics Gets Rights to Key Genome-Building Technology

9/18/12Follow @bvbigelow

Synthetic Genomics, the San Diego startup developing biofuels, industrial chemicals, sustainable animal feed, and other genetically engineered products, says it has acquired worldwide rights to key synthetic genomic technologies from Germany’s Febit Holding. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

“We need to make hundreds to thousands of genomes a day, not one every six weeks or six months,” Synthetic Genomics co-founder and CEO J. Craig Venter told me by phone yesterday evening. Febit’s intellectual property “is key to the road to doing that.”

Synthetic Genomics said it acquired rights to three families of patents and patent applications related to key synthetic genomic technologies, along with related know-how, equipment, and other technical support. The technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of synthesizing DNA, one of the core technical problems faced by synthetic biologists.

In fact, Venter said the Febit scientists who had developed the technologies wanted the rights to go to Synthetic Genomics. “They thought their IP would go best with what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.

In a statement from the company yesterday, Venter says, “The ability to construct accurate and inexpensive DNA, together with our current proprietary DNA assembly and genome transplantation methodologies, enable enhanced capacity to synthesize DNA and reprogram cells at a larger scale than what is currently achievable.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Jerry Jeff

    Is SGI going to be building genomes for other people? I can’t see how they could use 100s to 1000s of genomes per day just in their own research programs. Or is that just a failure of my imagination?

  • robert diggs

    exclusive?