Over the last decade, there has been an incredible surge in technologies and discoveries in the life sciences, enabling a new generation of companies to grow faster and larger than ever before. Investors are responding, and a record amount of capital is now available to biotech startups. Yet, company creation has lagged.
The discoveries of recombinant DNA and gene synthesis transformed biologists into engineers, as they finally gained “write access” to the code that underlies biological systems. Brave visionaries like Bob Swanson and Herb Boyer quickly realized the applications and launched Genentech, birthing the biotechnology industry. The fifty years since have been a compounding loop of tool development, and we can now engineer every level of the system — DNA, RNA, protein, cells, tissues, and organisms.
Beyond recombinant DNA, consider CRISPR, base editing, and prime editing. And ASOs, RNA-editing, RNA-targeted small molecules, and mRNA medicines. And protein degraders, and molecular glues. And cell therapies, microbiome therapeutics, organoids, and xenotransplantation. Recombinant DNA led to the formation of Genentech. These new technologies will create similarly immense opportunities. Indeed, the companies created in the last decade are growing larger and faster than ever before.