Synthetic biology – reimagine drug discovery

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Synthetic biology is a term used to describe an approach by which novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices are designed and constructed. Bringing together skills from biology, chemistry, bioinformatics and engineering, it applies engineering-like techniques, at scale, to solve biological problems through a rational process of ‘biodesign’.

The future of synthetic biology

It is clear that synthetic biology has the potential to impact many aspects of drug discovery, but the scale of the impact will depend on the further development of its underlying technologies. These include DNA synthesis, powerful bioinformatics, suitable chassis organisms and the ability to build/engineer pathways and organisms in a predictable fashion. In the same way that DNA sequencing underwent a revolution in the mid-2000s resulting in massive parallelisation and reduction in cost, a comparable breakthrough in DNA synthesis would catalyse many opportunities in this area, especially for optimising the drug discovery process.

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