UK SynBio Start-Up Survey published showing thriving East of England ecosystem

SynbiCITE have published the first survey of the UK synthetic biology start-up ecosystem, highlighting the changing sources of innovation and entrepreneurship at work in the sector from a macro-level perspective.

The report covers activity between 2000 and 2016 in research and development, technology transfer, industrial sectors, financing and investors. Its key finding were:

  • The UK produced more than 146 synthetic biology start-ups between 2000 and 2016.
  • More than half (54%) of new start-ups are tech transfer start- ups,
  • Synthetic biology start-up activity is concentrated in the South-East, East of England and London (67%). With Oxford, Cambridge and London Universities producing a cluster of activity nucleating in and around London. 
  • Synthetic biology start-up companies have raised over £620m of public (£56m) and private (£564m) investment in the UK since 2010. 

Dr. Stephen Chambers, CEO of SynbiCITE, commented that “Confirming the arrival of a new innovation ecosystem demands evidence: proof that variables ranging from investment, pipeline infrastructure, to talent and education are established and stable. We believe the industry has reached a critical mass of companies, showing a healthy churn of attrition and creation. Roughly 76% of all the start-ups founded in the survey period are still active and with the continuation of an effective national strategy in the future, this ecosystem will undoubtedly thrive, creating jobs and wealth while sustaining the UK’s leading role in the field.”

East of England emerged as the region with the highest number of synthetic biology start-ups after London, with spin-offs concentrated around the OpenPlant partner locations of Cambridge and Norwich. 


Download Report [PDF, 4MB]