On 8 February 2017, the Royal Society hosted a conference that posed the question Synthetic biology – does industry get it? It brought together nearly 200 experts from academia, industry and government to provide an honest and open appraisal of how industry is using synthetic biology, acknowledging successes and strengths but also looking at what barriers still need to be overcome.
A report from the meeting has now been published, summarising the discussions that took place and the key points raised.
Issues including the global energy challenge, regulation and public acceptance of synthetic biology, and finding the right talent and skills were all raised and great industrial interest in synthetic biology was demonstrated.
In answer to the question, “Does industry get it?”, the Royal Society report that:
"there was a clear sense that industry is very interested in synthetic biology but that there remains a conservativism that holds back its wider implementation. Industry speakers encouraged synthetic biologists to look at solving the unmet needs of industry and demonstrate the benefits that future products will bring. Researchers should avoid the risk of overselling their new and exciting science - there needs to be a balance between ambitious, long-term scientific targets and working within the existing product development lifetimes in industry...Synthetic biology stands on the cusp – as the costs of processes fall, the moment where rapid growth in industrialisation will take place is nearly upon us."
The full report can be read here.