BioIndustry Association Release: First UK Synthetic Biology Trade Mission Sets Its Sights on San Francisco  
10/1/2013 9:06:59 AM

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1 October 2013 -- First UK synthetic biology trade mission sets its sights on San Francisco The BioIndustry Association (BIA) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) today announce the nine leading UK companies that will showcase UK expertise in synthetic biology (synbio) at SynBioBeta SF 2013, a key global synbio start-up conference taking place in California in November.

Synthetic biology is one of the eight great technologies identified by the Chancellor George Osborne in November 2012 as an area in which the UK is a world leader. Synthetic biology applies the principles of engineering design to biological systems and processes. Scientists believe that it may lead to new applications, such as novel systems for energy and chemicals production, medical therapies, biological computers and innovative ways to clean up hazardous waste.

The synbio companies which won a UKTI-sponsored competition for financial assistance to represent the UK in San Francisco are: Algenuity, Green Biologics Ltd, Morph Bioinformatics, Oxitec Ltd, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prokarium Ltd, Sphere Fluidics Ltd, Synpromics Ltd and Synthace Ltd.

The winning companies will be attending SynBioBeta SF 2013 as part of the first ever UK synbio trade mission. The companies will have the opportunity to attend events organised by the Science and Innovation Network on the translation of synbio research for commercial application and meet with key Californian academics, investors and companies.

The trade mission has been organised by the BIA in collaboration with UKTI, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to promote and assist the UK synbio research community to fulfil its exporting potential.

Steve Bates, BIA Chief Executive Officer, said:

"This UK delegation shows the world the vibrancy, strength and global scientific leadership of start-up synbio companies in the UK. Watch out west coast USA, the Brits are coming."

Louis Barson, Head of the Science and Innovation Unit at UKTI, said:

"The eight great technologies, including synthetic biology, are solid examples of the UK's innovation in life sciences which is vital to delivering the government's economic growth agenda.

"The USA is the world's largest economy and Britain's biggest export market, offering huge potential for UK companies to boost their overseas trade and attract new investment. UKTI's support for potential exporters is a key part of the Government's plan to double Britain's export receipts by 2015."

Belinda Clarke, Lead Technologist (Synthetic Biology) at the TSB, the UK's innovation agency, said:

"The companies taking part in the Mission demonstrate the breadth and depth of expertise that synthetic biology has already achieved in the UK. It is a very strong base upon which to build further."

BBSRC is a research council funding academic research in this space, and nurturing its translation into benefits for the UK. Dr Celia Caulcott, BBSRC Director, Innovation and Skills, said:

"This event provides a showcase for UK excellence. British bioscience is world-leading and synthetic biology offers us great opportunities in areas like health, energy and useful chemicals. These winning companies are driving forward the translation of research into benefits for society and the economy."

Tim Fell, Chief Executive Officer at Synthace and Chair of the BIA's Synthetic Biology Advisory Committee, said: "On behalf of all the competition winners I would like to thank the BIA, UKTI, TSB and BBSRC for this prestigious and valuable opportunity to represent the UK synbio community at this important global event. Their coordinated efforts are greatly appreciated and underscore why the UK is such a favourable environment to engage in synthetic biology research".

For further information, please contact Zoë Freeman, Public Affairs and Communications Executive,, 020 7630 2187; mobile 07741 249 902.

The companies


Green Biologics

Morph Bioinformatics


Plymouth Marine Laboratory


Sphere Fluidics



About SynBioBeta SF 2013

SynBioBeta's conference in San Francisco on 15 November 2013 aims to bring together synthetic biology startups, established players, bioengineers, investors and scientists to meet, partner and hear about the latest advances in the industry. For more information, please go to

About the Science and Innovation Network

The Science and Innovation Network (SIN) is a network of UK national and locally engaged staff, who are based in UK Embassies and Consulates abroad. SIN is managed by a joint Foreign Commonwealth Office and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills team, tasked with promoting UK scientific expertise internationally, strengthening UK innovation, informing effective policymaking and leadership, and using science and innovation to influence key bodies abroad. For more information, please go to

UK Trade & Investment

In the 2012 Autumn Statement, UKTI was awarded an additional £70 million for each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the recruitment of more international trade advisers around the country, expansion of existing services including the Trade Access Programme (TAP) and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and support to expand the range of assistance available to UK companies through overseas British chambers of commerce. The Government's economic policy objective is to achieve 'strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries.'

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government Department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. UKTI also helps overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK's economy - acknowledged as Europe's best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. UKTI provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information visit or visit the online newsroom at

BioIndustry Association

Founded over 20 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives. For further information, please go to

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