The pace at which the scientific breakthroughs working to bend the machinery of life to the whims of manufacturing have transformed into real businesses has intensified competition in the biomanufacturing market.
That’s just one reason why Synvitrobio is rebranding as it takes on $2.6 million in new financing to pursue opportunities in biopharmaceutical and biochemical manufacturing. Under its new name, Tierra Biosciences, the company hopes to emphasize its focus on agricultural and biochemical products.
The company is one of several looking to commercialize the field of “cell-free” manufacturing — where biological engineers strip down the cellular building blocks of life to their most basic components to create processes that ideally can be more easily manipulated to produce different kinds of chemicals.
There’s a standard way to create these cell-free processes (described quite nicely in The Economist).
Grab a few quarts of culture with some kind of bacteria, plant or animal cells in it. Then use pressure to force the cells through a valve to break up their membranes and DNA. Give the goo a nice warm environment heated to roughly the average temperature of a human body for about an hour. That activates enzymes that will eat the existing DNA.