Taking Biotech to the Home

We have biotech all around in our homes. The fruits in our fridge were grown on trees that were resistant to pests and maybe had improved yield than the conventional. Many components of the soaps, shampoos and detergents in your house were processed using enzymes that were obtained from modified bacteria. Almost every time you pop-in a tablet, you have biotechnology to thank for. While these and many applications abound all around us, the underlying technology isn’t as perceptible. Biotech needs to be more visible.

A popular open source biotechnology blogger is on a personal endeavour to bring biotechnology to homes. Continue reading “Taking Biotech to the Home”


Rise of the Lean Biotech Start-up

Biotech start-ups are a bulky affair. They require monstrous amounts of money and resources to start with, take years to do the research and development for the product and the profits, if any, fall down rapidly once patents expire and  generic versions of the product fill the market. For platform start-ups, the technology often gets outdated before it becomes profitable. Thus, biotech start-ups make good products but, not good businesses.

Fortunately, the scenario is changing with the costs of starting up a biotech company plunging to the order of the costs of starting a software company. Continue reading “Rise of the Lean Biotech Start-up”

How Emerald Cloud Lab is democratizing Biotech

Emerald Cloud Labs is a biotech start-up that would enable you to start your biotech start-up at a fraction of cost of what it takes today. It lets you conduct over 40 common biotech experiments while you’re sitting in front of your computer.

Emerald Therapeutics started out as looking into cures for viral diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. It has developed its in-house platform for conducting experiments into a science as a service business model. Use of robots and storing all experimental data in a systemic manner has the great benefit of increased reproducibility of the experiments. Continue reading “How Emerald Cloud Lab is democratizing Biotech”

Making Synthetic Viruses

Andrew Hessel is a Distinguished Researcher with Autodesk Inc and a visionary in synthetic biology. So, what is a company involved in computer aided design doing in synthetic biology? A lot, potentially. Hessel is with the Bio/Nano Programmable Matter group, which is developing advanced software tools to let you design living systems at the nanoscale level. Continue reading “Making Synthetic Viruses”

Final Week @ IDEA – Venture!

After learning to design and build a start-up, the final week was about venturing out. Our mentors felt that we were able to build breakthrough start-up ideas and left everything on us. The hiring process, building prototypes, designing products and pitching it to investors. We chose our teams last Saturday and had the whole week to work on our start-up ideas. We had to submit our venture submission packets that consisted of our prototype, lean canvas model, splash page and pitch deck by Friday. Continue reading “Final Week @ IDEA – Venture!”

Week Two @ IDEA – Build!

After the first week focusing on design, the second week at Innovate Delhi Entrepreneurship Academy was about building a business out of the product. To sum up the week in two equations, I’d like to use the following from Bernadette Jiwa’s blog –

Product – Meaning = Commodity
Product + Meaning = Brand

Most entrepreneurs love the product/service they build. It is their creation. But, no one wants your product. A few people might want the thing that your product does to be done, but no one wants the product. What people – co-founders, investors, users, friends of users etc – want is a story. A story to make people see your product the way you see it or any way you want them to. Continue reading “Week Two @ IDEA – Build!”

Week One @ IDEA – Design!

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
– John Steinbeck

I’m currently at a 3-week program, titled, Innovate Delhi Entrepreneurship Academy. It is organized by Stanford Graduate School of Business and hosted at Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, New Delhi.

The debutant initiative describes itself as part business school and part start-up incubator. Continue reading “Week One @ IDEA – Design!”

The rules of genetics are there to be broken.

Just when we thought we would beat natural selection using synthetic biology, a discovery to show us that Nature remains the boss !!

In many microbes, it has been found that the stop codons are interpreted as special amino acids, something which was considered to be an ingenuity of synthetic biologists.

Dave Sells STEM - Science News

One of the aims of synthetic biology is to manipulate genetics so that the DNA code can be read differently and designer organisms can be created that will be more resistant to infection with viruses. If a different genetic code is used, then when a virus hijacks the infected cell’s machinery so that it can create huge numbers of copies of the virus to allow further infection, it will run into problems because the synthetic cell will make the virus incorrectly as it uses its own altered code. The synthetic organism will only be able to share its genetics with other synthetic organisms that have had their code manipulated similarly. However, a recent report in Science suggests that this type of recoding might actually be common amongst microbial life forms, which could provide a serious problem for synthetic biologists.

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