The ‘new’ biotech industry
Author(s)Prather, Kristala L
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Recombinant DNA technology first emerged as a tool for engineering biological systems more than 30 years ago. Soon after, the ‘Biotech’ industry was launched. More precisely, the biopharmaceutical industry had been launched, primarily leading to the production of biologics and proteins of therapeutic value. Nonetheless, Biotech became synonymous with Biopharma. However, the foundations of chemical biotechnology had been laid long before, with the industrial scale production of penicillin during World War II as a hallmark event that led to the commercialization of fermentation processes for other natural products. The application of rDNA technology to chemical biotech was first codified in the discipline of metabolic engineering, which provided both experimental and computational frameworks for rational design of microbial chemical factories. More recently, synthetic biology has emerged with the goal of rapidly accelerating the pace of designing, building and testing biological systems and a set of approaches that are complementary to those traditionally ascribed to metabolic engineering. Against this backdrop, companies large and small, old and new, are investing in bio-based fuels and chemicals at ever-increasing scale. Biotech has come to encompass more than Biopharma, including, once again, the old mainstay of fermentation-based production of small molecules, that is, Chemical Biotechnology.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemical Engineering
Current Opinion in Microbiology
Prather, Kristala L. J. "The ‘new’ biotech industry." Current Opinion in Biotechnology 24, 6 (December 2013): 963-964 © 2013 Elsevier
Author's final manuscript