Three principles that will transform synthetic biology

Synthetic biology can be harnessed to address some of humanity’s most pressing challenges within a short five-year time period, according to a new report released today. The report summarises the findings of a workshop held earlier this year by breakthrough innovation specialists Cambridge Consultants. The report concludes that predictability, a competitive supply-chain and accessibility represent the three core principles that will see synthetic biology transform into a commercially-focused, world-changing technology as soon as 2023.

Synthetic biology remains nascent, yet full of promise. The idea of using rational engineering approaches to design biology has the potential to solve some of humanity’s grand challenges, such as securing food supplies or developing new cancer drugs. The last two decades have seen massive technical progress and increasing global interest in what synthetic biology might achieve. However this has not yet been translated into significant business growth. Synthetic biology products and services need to become a major part of economic activity if they are to truly deliver on their promise. Synthetic biology needs to become biodesign.

The workshop brought together senior leaders and influencers in the emerging synthetic biology industry, from many industry sectors. The resulting report, which is available to download today, identifies the following three core principles to drive this transformation:

  • A predictable engineering discipline: Synthetic biology will be established as an engineering discipline of biodesign with a high level of predictability. Effective standards will be in place to generate, collect, manage and communicate data across the industry
  • A competitive supply chain: An integrated supply chain will exist that can take the complex requirements of biological systems and translate them into competitive products and services
  • Accessible and desirable products and services: By 2023, synthetic biology products and services will be seen by all stakeholders (experts as well as non-experts) as an accessible and desirable solution to major challenges as well as to individual needs

“It’s hugely encouraging that our diverse group could unite around these core principles” said workshop leader and Cambridge Consultants’ Head of Synthetic Biology, Richard Hammond. “It demonstrates that a clear and consistent ambition for synthetic biology can be developed across multiple sectors, despite the seemingly disparate needs and market dynamics. I’d like to thank the participants for their contributions and insights and look forward to working with the global synthetic biology industry to make this vision a reality”.

The workshop took place in February 2018, operating under the Chatham House Rule and included representatives from GSK, Unilever, Ginkgo Bioworks, Synthetic Genomics and M Ventures, amongst many others.

Recognising the emergence of a new era of rational biodesign, Cambridge Consultants created its synthetic biology division in 2015. Using state-of-the-art facilities and techniques, our synthetic biology team fuses expertise in biology, chemistry and engineering to convert research-driven discovery into breakthrough products and services.

To download a copy of the workshop report, click here.

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants (剑桥顾问公司)开发突破性产品,产生和授权知识产权,并为全球的客户提供商业资讯,解决与技术相关的关键问题。60多年来,公司一直致力于帮助客户转化商业机会,包括推出市场领先的产品,进入新市场,引入新技术扩大现有市场。公司拥有超过900名员工,包括工程师、科学家、数学家和设计师,遍布于英国剑桥、美国波士顿、东京和新加坡办事处,为医疗和生命科学、工业和能源、消费和零售以及通讯和基础设施等多个行业提供解决方案。欲了解更多信息,请访问:

Cambridge Consultants是 Capgemini Invent (凯捷集团的创新、咨询和转型品牌)的子公司。Capgemini Invent帮助管理者设想和构建他们组织的未来。公司在全球设有30多个办事处和25个创意工作室,是一支拥有7000多名员工的强大团队,将战略、技术、数据科学和创意设计与深厚的行业专业知识和洞察力相结合,开发新的数字解决方案和未来的商业模式。

凯捷集团是通过技术来为客户改造和管理业务的全球领导者,而Capgemini Invent是凯捷集团不可或缺的一部分。集团的宗旨是通过技术释放人类的潜能,实现包容性和可持续的未来。它是一个及负社会责任的多元化组织,在近50个国家拥有27万名团队成员。凭借其50年的悠久历史和深厚的行业专业知识,凯捷集团受到客户的信赖,在快速发展和充满创新的云、数据、人工智能、连接、软件、数字工程和平台技术的推动下,能够满足客户从战略、设计到运营的所有业务需求。集团2020年的全球营收为160亿欧元。

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Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 700 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications. For more information, visit:

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit:


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