Start-up Synthetic Genomics launched in June, and wants to create new forms of life.
The idea is far enough “out there” for Steve Jurvetson, partner at Silicon Valley venture firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, to get interested. He has a penchant for deep science. Just look at his blog, as we’ve noted before.
So, with two other investors, DFJ has invested around $30 million into the company, which is based in Rockville, MD.
The company comes with a pedigree. It’s the latest venture of J. Craig Venter, former president of Celera, the company that mapped out the human genome.
There’s a good story on this in VentureWire (sub required), but here’s a little blurb showing that other Silicon Valley firms, including Kleiner Perkins, are…
staying in the mix here too.
While Synthetic Genomics is one of the few firms seeking to create entirely synthetic organisms, other start-ups are looking at adapting existing organisms to business applications.
In fact, another DFJ portfolio company, GreenFuel Technologies Corp., is working on the problem. The Cambridge, Mass.-based start-up announced an $11 million round of funding earlier in December and is developing bioreactors to grow algae that could consume plant emissions. The algae would then be harvested and converted into biofuels.
Another start-up based in Cambridge, Mass. that is publicly developing technology for synthetic biology. Codon Devices Inc., backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is working on building the enabling technology for creating new life, according to company CEO John Danner. His company provides the genetic materials, which companies like Synthetic Genomics would use to build their single-celled microbes.