McKinsey forecasts a biotech revolution will improve human health and transform agriculture and food, consumer products and services, and materials and energy production. Advances in biological sciences accelerated by developments in computing, data analytics, machine learning, AI, and biological engineering. They group innovations into four arenas: biomolecules, biosystems, biomachine interfaces, and biocomputing.
Biomolecules are related to gene therapy and the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
Biosystems is synthetic biology and the production of synthetic meat and fermentation of products like beer, cosmetics, or drugs.
Biomachine interfaces are like Elon Musk’s Neuralink where computers and electronics are connected to biology.
Biocomputing is like the work of Roswell Biotechnology where CMOS is interfaced with DNA and used to generate DNA storage.
The big impact for human health would be for cancer treatments and cures (up to $870 billion out of $1.2 trillion), infectious disease (up to $145 billion), and single-gene disease cures (up to $70 billion).
The agriculture impact would primarily be in improving the breeding and genetic engineering of crops and farm animals (up to $660 billion/yr). There will also be the improvement of the soil microbiome (the bacteria in soil). The microbiome management and improvement could have a $380 billion/yr impact.
McKinsey only expects up to $120 billion/year from cultured meat, synthetic proteins and alternative proteins. Tony Seba believes that combining fermentation and synthetic biology will make food ten times cheaper and better.
Gene Sequencing and Genetic Companies Have Over $60 Billion in Combined Market Cap Already
Seattle Genomics has a market cap of $29 billion. They are developing cancer-related therapies. The main product is Adcetris, which is approved for the treatment of several types of CD30-expressing lymphomas, among other cancers. They are researching antibody-drug conjugate technology and sugar-engineered antibody technology.
Exact Sciences has a $20 billion market cap. They are a molecular diagnostics company that specializes in the early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. They launched Cologuard in 2014. It is the first stool DNA test for colorectal cancer.
Bluebird Bio has a market cap of $3.5 billion. They are working on gene therapy treatments for several diseases. They are working to treat transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia, severe sickle cell disease, cerebral adrenoleukodystrophy and relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.
Natera and Invitae are each in the $2-3 billion market cap range.
Sarepta Therapeutics is worth about $10-11 billion. They are working on therapeutics based on third-generation NEUGENE antisense technology. They have Morpholino oligomers (PMOs) which are synthetic nucleic acid analogs. They can bind to messenger RNA to prevent the generation of bad proteins.
Synthetic Biology is Already a $10 Billion a Year Industry
Twist Bioscience has a $3.4 billion market valuation. Twist Bioscience has a DNA synthesis platform using semiconductors.
In August, 2020, Twist Bioscience announced they stored an episode of the Netflix Original Series Biohackers in Twist’s synthetic DNA. Twist makes more than one million small pieces of DNA on a single silicon chip using semiconductor technology. They can synthesize or write 10 gigabytes of DNA on each silicon chip which reduces the cost of digital data storage significantly for broad accessibility and commercialization.
They have reduced reaction volumes by a factor of 1,000,000 while increasing throughput by a factor of 1,000, enabling the synthesis of 9,600 genes on a single silicon chip at full scale. Traditional synthesis methods produce a single gene in the same physical space using a 96-well plate.
SOURCES- McKinsey Global, Tony Seba, Twist Bioscience, Sarepta, Seattle Genomics, Exact Sciences, Bluebird Bio
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com