Singularity University Announces Inaugural Synthetic Biology Accelerator Program

Startup founders will develop and launch transformative companies in the emerging field of synthetic biology at new Silicon Valley SynBio Startup Launchpad

Mountain View, CA (May 17, 2012)– Singularity University today announced the companies selected to participate in its inaugural synthetic biology accelerator program, SynBio Startup Launchpad. The program will nurture aspiring SynBio entrepreneurs seeking to apply the rapid-cycle, low-cost approaches employed by tech and biotech startups. Synthetic biology is genetic engineering using software-based design tools coupled with low-cost DNA synthesis and assembly.

The SynBio Accerlator Program was conceived by Andrew Hessel, Co-Chair of SU’s Biotechnology and Bioinformatics track, and John Cumbers, Ph.D, a synthetic biologist at NASA Ames Research Center.  As Andrew Hessel explains, “advances in technology are allowing scientists to treat DNA, our genetic code, the same way people use code for software programming.”

The SynBio Startup Launchpad is Singularity University’s first formal initiative to support startups developing exponentially growing technologies. “The SynBio program brings together a powerful community seeking to support startups developing products from the emerging field of synthetic biology to address some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Gabriel Baldinucci, Singularity University’s Vice President of Strategy and New Venture Development.

Three (3) companies have been selected for the SynBio Program: Evolutionary Solutions, Modern Meadow and SoilGene. Evolutionary Solutions (founders Kettner Griswold and Paul Sebexen) is developing a genome synthesis device. Modern Meadow (co-founder Andras Forgacs) applies tissue-engineering techniques to produce high volumes of animal protein for food and textiles. SoilGene (founders Zachary Apte and Robert Lim) combines metagenomic and bioinformatic approaches to survey land opportunities for the natural resources and agriculture sectors.

A unique aspect of the SynBio program is its partnership with Triple Ring Technologies in Newark, California. The three selected companies will be based at Triple Ring to take advantage of its engineering and lab facilities, and their staff's extensive expertise in life sciences innovation and commercialization. “We are excited to work with the SynBio entrepreneurs taking innovations to market in the emerging synthetic biology space," said Joseph Heanue, Ph.D., president and CEO of Triple Ring Technologies.

The selected entrepreneurs will go through four months of comprehensive, customized mentoring and education in bringing their ideas to market. The companies receive close mentorship from a network of experienced advisors, weekly speakers on critical venture topics, networking with their peers, and valuable discounted services to launch their companies.

The first program will conclude in late August with the SynBio Companies pitching their ventures to investors and the community at “demo day” events.

Sandra Miller, newly appointed SU Managing Director of New Venture Development, will be responsible for the management of the SynBio Launchpad as well as other new Singularity University ventures, working closely with Gabriel Baldinucci, VP of Strategy and New Venture Development.

 “Creating, incubating and financing companies to positively affect the lives of a billion people are central elements of SU’s vision. We call this 10^9+ impact,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, SU Chairman and Co-Founder.

About Singularity University

Singularity University’s mission is to assemble, educate, and inspire a new generation of leaders in business, science, finance, and government who strive to understand and use exponentially advancing technologies to address humanity’s grand challenges. Corporate Partners include Autodesk, Cisco, ePlanet Ventures, Genentech, Google, Kauffman Foundation, and Nokia. Since 2009, SU has hosted students and industry leaders from more than 60 countries at its campus at NASA Research Park, Moffett Field, CA.

SU offers a Summer Graduate Studies Program and numerous Executive Programs throughout the year focused on the impact and incubation of exponentially advancing technologies in the key areas of medicine and neuroscience, networks and computing systems, artificial intelligence and robotics, biotechnology and bioinformatics, nanotechnology, space and physical science, and energy and environmental systems. SU programs focus on the intersection of these areas with each other, and with policy, law, and ethics; design; entrepreneurship; finance and economics; and futures studies and forecasting.

For more information about Singularity University visit www.singularityu.org
SU Media contact: Diane Murphy (diane.murphy@singularityu.org)
SU Synbio Lab contact: Sandra Miller (Sandra.miller@singularityu.org)

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