Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

Compiled by Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge. SpannerPlantLogo140This site contains details of recent papers and activity in Synthetic Biology, with particular emphasis on: (i) development of standards in biology and DNA parts, (ii) microbial and (iii) plant systems, (iv) research and teaching in the field at the University of Cambridge, (v) hardware for scientific computing and instrumentation, (vi) tools for scientific productivity and collected miscellany.

Similar to the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi and OpenLabTools initiatives, we promote the use of low cost and open source tools - in our case for use in biological engineering.

Google: Synthetic Biology news

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Renewables funding going strong

It looks like a good start for 2012 with several companies closing some good funding this month.

New Zealand-based LanzaTech announced this week that it has bagged a total of US $55.8m in its series C round of financing led by the Malaysian Life Sciences Capital Fund. New investors include PETRONAS Technology Ventures Sdn Bhd and Dialog Group. Existing investors such as Khosla Ventures, Qiming Venture Partners and K1W1 -- I like this name =) -- participated in the round as well. LanzaTech said the compay raised a total of more than $85m to date.

The company also gave a small update on their $5m acquisition of a US cellulosic ethanol facility now dubbed "Freedom Pines Biorefinery" located in Soperton, Georgia, which was previously owned by Range Fuels. LanzaTech said, the facility will produce renewable fuels and chemicals from waste wood using their proprietary processing technology (industrial waste gas-to-fuel/chemicals via fermentation).

Another recent news is advanced fuel developer KiOR closing a $75m four-year term loan with a lender group comprised of  an affiliate of Vinod Khosla and two Canadian corporations owned by pension fund clients of Alberta Investment Management Corp.

Waste CO2-to-fuel/chemicals developer Joule has also closed a $70m funding this month bringing a total funding round of more than $110m to date. The company did not disclose funding sources.

The proceeds will be applied towards the build-out and operation of a Joule facility located in Hobbs, New Mexico and slated for commissioning in the summer of 2012. Joule was founded by venture capital firm Flagship Ventures in 2007.

Zeachem also announced yesterday that it has been selected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a $232.5m loan guarantee under the 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program. The conditional loan enables the financing and construction of ZeaChem's first commercial-scale cellulosic biorefinery in Boardman, Oregon, with a capacity of 25m gal/year enabling the production of cellulosic ethanol and acetic acid/ethyl acetate using woody biomass.

On Wednesday, Canadian renewable chemical firm EcoSynthetix secured a $2.1m funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). The funding will support EcoSynthetix's project for further development of its EcoMer® bio-based monomer platform.

The blog also received news from Bioformix CEO Adam Malofsky that the company closed a $13m funding from GM Ventures this month and is waiting to close another funding from a big Japanese multinational company soon.

Also this year, we had BASF investing $30m in cellulosic sugar developer Renmatix; Agilyx secured $25m in its series C funding; DSM investing $250m in cellulosic ethanol via its joint venture with US developer POET;  US biodiesel company Renewable Energy Group targeting $100m via its IPO filing; DuPont investing in biomass sorghum developer NextSteppe (undisclosed amount); and another sorghum developer Chromatin has been awarded $5.7m grant from the US DOE.

I've compiled a rough list of last year's financing rounds and IPOs. Hopefully, this will be useful to you.

2011 Renewable Chemicals Financing
IPO Companies Capital Raised
2/9/2011 Gevo $123.3m
5/27/2011 Solazyme $227.2m
6/24/2011 KiOR $150m
8/4/2011 EcoSynthetix $101.6m



IPO Companies Filed Target
5/2011 Myriant $125m
8/2011 Genomatica $100m
9/2011 Elevance $100m
10/2011 BioAmber $150m
12/2011 Coskata $100m
9/2011 Fulcrum BioEnergy $115m
7/2011 Cathay Industrial withdrawn in August


Companies Financing Amount
Agilyx $47m (series B and C)
Avantium $35.9m
BioAmber $45m (series B)
Cereplast $12.5m (private)
Cobalt Technologies $20m (series D)
Dyadic $3m (private)
Elevance $50m (private)
Enerkem $105m (series C)
Fulcrum Bioenergy $75m (series C)
Genomatica $45m (series D)
Gevo $17m (Lanxess)
$5m (USDA grant)
Global Bioenergies $1.98m (Synthos)
$9.3m (IPO)
LS9 $9m (DOE grant)
Materia $17m
Metabolix $6m (DOE grant)
Myriant $60m (PTTGC)
NatureWorks $150m (PTTGC)
NextSteppe $14m (series B)
OPXBio $41.2m (series C)
Plaxica $7.8m
Rivertop Renewables $3.5m (MonTEC grant)
$1.5m (venture capital)
Siluria $20m (series B)
Verenium $16m (loan)
Zeachem $24m (series C)
$40m (USDA grant)

Source: Company Reports

Renewables funding going strong: "

(Via ICIS Green Chemicals.)

Research news at Cambridge University

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Online resources, including bibliography, weblinks and posters, for work with the simple plant system, Marchantia polymorpha.

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OpenLabTools: open technology in Cambridge


The OpenLabTools Project is a new initiative for the development of low cost and open access scientific tools at the University of Cambridge. With support from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, student projects include data acquisition, sensing, actuating, processing and 3D manufacturing, see the website.

Research Studies

PhD Studentships in Cambridge

The Board of Graduate Studies manages admission of the University's graduate students. Prospective students should start here - for an introduction to the University of Cambridge, the courses we offer, how to apply for postgraduate study, how your application will be processed, and immigration and other important information.

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