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TURBOcharging biomanufacturing

Synvitrobio is now Tierra Biosciences and has closed $2.6 million in seed funding.

Tierra Biosciences (formerly Synvitrobio) is hiring: learn more and apply.


team:

 Zachary Sun, Ph.D.

Zachary Sun, Ph.D.

Zachary Sun has been developing fundamental synthetic biology technologies since 2006, and has published work on MAGE genomic engineering in Nature and on a cell-free prototyping environment in eLife. The latter forms the basis for Tierra Biosciences (formerly Synvitrobio). Sun is a NDSEG Fellow, a DARPA Rising participant, and part of the UCLA/Caltech NIH Medical Scientist Training Program. He holds a PhD in biology from Caltech, an AB in chemical and physical biology with high honors from Harvard, and is a MD candidate (on leave) from UCLA.


technology:

Critical need: Engineering biology can be incredibly powerful for addressing problems in manufacturing and energy, but tools to rationally do so are lacking.   

Technology vision: Tierra Biosciences’ technology creates a prototyping environment to rapidly speed up design-build-test cycles for bio-based processes and increase the amount of data collected.  

 
 The aerospace (left) and electronics (middle) industries use efficient prototyping platforms like wind tunnels and breadboards, allowing rapid design-build-test cycles to drive innovation. Tierra Biosciences (right) aims to enable a similar paradigm for biomanufacturing.

The aerospace (left) and electronics (middle) industries use efficient prototyping platforms like wind tunnels and breadboards, allowing rapid design-build-test cycles to drive innovation. Tierra Biosciences (right) aims to enable a similar paradigm for biomanufacturing.

 

Current state-of-the-art: The field has successfully produced chemicals and therapeutics such a 1,3-PDO, farnesene, and artemisinin; however, all test cycles are highly labor intensive and occur primarily in cells.  

Key innovation: Tierra Biosciences uses cell-free systems as a prototyping environment, thereby allowing the collection of relevant biological data without the restrictions inherent in cellular engineering. Cell-free systems are inexpensive to produce and to use and require significantly less capital to deploy than cellular systems.

Competing technology: Current approaches are driven by high-throughput experiments done completely in cells through “molecular factories.” While sufficient to ultimately reach an end-product, this approach ignores fundamental principles of engineering (modularity, rational design, prototyping environments) and is time and capital intensive.  

First market hypothesis: Bio-based processes for green chemistry.

Potential for impact: We seek to change the way biological engineering is conducted. If successful, our process will become a basis of engineering for a future carbon and energy-neutral bio-economy that relies on biology, rather than petroleum, to drive manufacturing.  

 
 Sample complex products (shikimic acid, artemisinin, morphine) difficult to access by synthetic chemistry but potentially accessible by bio-based processes.

Sample complex products (shikimic acid, artemisinin, morphine) difficult to access by synthetic chemistry but potentially accessible by bio-based processes.

 

We're looking for: 

  • Technical collaborators

  • Team members - scientists, engineers

  • Team members - business

  • Interns

  • Funders

  • Joint development partners

Contact: 

zach [at] synvitrobio [dot] com


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