Authored by eureKARE: Alexandre Mouradian (Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO), Georges Rawadi (Chief of Biotech Studio Development), PAMPFER Serge (Chief Science Officer), Kristin Thompson (Chief Business Officer)
“Synthetic biology is reinventing nature and ourselves” – Alexandre Mouradian, Chairman and Co-Founder of eureKARE
When it comes to innovation in synthetic biology (or “SynBio”), we’re seeing Europe punch above its weight but there remains a disconnect in seeing this translate into commercial value and investment, falling behind other major players, namely the US.
At eureKARE, we believe that European innovation in SynBio is dramatically underexploited and are focused on harnessing Europe’s untapped leadership in the field. In pursuit of this goal, we hosted our annual synthetic biology conference, SynBio Day, earlier this month (October 13th and 14th) in Monaco to help bring academia and industry closer together and foster interactions between Europe’s SynBio leaders of the future.
Titled ‘Synthetic Biology for the Protection of our Planet’, we welcomed more than 25 international SynBio experts to speak on the potential of the field in addressing some of the world’s most pressing health and environmental challenges. With its rich maritime history and innovation in fighting climate change, Monaco made for the perfect location for our 2022 event, and we were honoured to have His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco join us. The 2020 Monaco Declaration recognizes that “planet health is human health” and the parallels between this ‘One Health’ concept and our vision of “changing all our tomorrows through synthetic biology” were made all the more evident as we saw industry leaders talk through applications of SynBio across different domains and indications addressing both sides of the coin.
“Progress isn’t real if it isn’t sustainable” – His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco
Up until recently, the application of synthetic biology largely focused on addressing human diseases. Today, advances in the field are enabling us to apply these specialist technologies to other areas, including environmental challenges, with climate change being arguably the biggest threat facing humanity. Synthetic biology and conservation are not incompatible and SynBio offers the combined power of biology and engineering methods to revolutionize how we live, eat, and protect our planet to solve problems that others have created. However, this research typically occurs in silos separated by sector without allowing for combined expertise. To bring these solutions closer to reality, we’ll need to see a greater merging of technologies and minds and SynBio Day 2022 was a step in this direction, bringing actors in synthetic biology and ocean and climate scientists together in one room.
”These invaluable exchanges will pave the way to out of the box ideas” – Kristin Thompson, Chief Business Officer of eureKARE
The event highlighted the importance of applied science and focused largely on targeting air and marine pollution. While identifying alternative forms of energy production is helping drive a sustainable economy, being able to limit carbon dioxide emissions to the extent that it is able to combat its environmental consequences is unlikely given the levels we are at today. This is prompting the emergence of novel carbon capture methods with many looking not just to remove pollutive gases from the atmosphere but use SynBio methods to transform emissions into beneficial products. In our oceans, researchers are leveraging marine bio resources and applying SynBio to preserve coral, protect from coral bleaching and combat marine pollution.
“It is not science on one side and applications on the other, rather applied science” – Georges Rawadi, Chief of Biotech Studio Development of eureKARE
Some examples of synthetic biology providing environmental solutions, as presented at SynBio Day 2022, are highlighted below:
While the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the need for, and positive impact of, rapid and flexible policy relating to emerging technologies in healthcare, there remains hesitancy in considering this for the environment. With climate change threatening the health of our planet and people right now, it is important that the risks and advantages are addressed today and not years into the future to create actionable solutions which preserve our natural resources and enhance the current and future state of our natural environment.
Synthetic biology is a philosophy that looks at the elements constitutive of living entities with an engineering and computational eye, opening up a new way to enhance a huge range of existing biological functions and create completely new ones. It is, therefore, vital that we have the regulatory framework and associated public policies in place to allow for novel innovation which doesn’t fit into the existing regulation. In support of this, creating appropriate awareness and transparency around the added value of the SynBio field to win over public perception and influence those in power is important and was one of the key takeaways from SynBio Day 2022.
“This SynBio philosophy implies a new lexicon where organisms, cells and organelles become systems, circuits and bricks” – Serge Pampfer, Chief Science Officer of eureKARE
Synthetic biology is ushering in a revolutionary era of disruptive technologies, and we are proud at eureKARE to be championing a new model of start-up creation and development to build Europe’s future synthetic biology leaders by identifying, selecting and nurturing the high-quality science that Europe has to offer.
eureKARE is an investment company focused on financing and developing synthetic biology innovation across Europe. Driven by the belief that synthetic biology holds the key to many of the world’s most pressing health and environmental challenges, eureKARE’s experienced team is focused on harnessing Europe’s untapped leadership in the field to build the companies of the future. eureKARE is championing a new model of start-up creation and development to create a dynamic ecosystem of early and later stage ventures through its network of biotech studios. eureKARE’s studios act as a bridge between academia and industry, helping to catalyze innovations into companies with access to all the ingredients they need to grow, prosper, and bring benefits to society
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