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Life Technologies Invests in Synthetic Genomics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies announced after the close of the market on Wednesday that it has made an equity investment in Synthetic Genomics, the firm behind research by Craig Venter and colleagues that resulted in the first functional bacterial cells controlled by a synthetic genome.

Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Based in La Jolla, Calif., SGI was founded in 2005 by Venter, Hamilton Smith, who shared the Nobel Prize in 1978 for physiology or medicine, Juan Enriquez, and David Kiernan.

While its initial focus was on bioenergy, SGI has broadened its scope to include research in food production, clean water, and vaccine development. One of its main business focuses is a collaboration with Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Group to develop algal biofuels as an alternative to biological crude oil, Life Tech said in a statement.

Last month, Venter made a splash by announcing he and his team had produced functional, self-replicating cells closely resembling natural M. mycoides cells. SGI funded the work.

"SGI is a true leader in the field of synthetic biology, not only for its innovative approaches in the laboratory, but also for its ability to help industry convert that research into meaningful solutions for some of society's greatest challenges," Life Technologies Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier said in a statement.

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