MRO Magazine

Gen9 Announces Columbia University Medical Center Professor Harris Wang and Start-Up Company Industrial Microbes Are Winners of Third Annual G-Prize


August 5, 2015
By Business Wire News

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

Gen9, Inc., a pioneer in the development of scalable technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA, today announced the winners of its third annual G-Prize contest. Harris Wang, PhD, Assistant Professor in Systems Biology at Columbia University Medical Center, and Industrial Microbes were selected by an independent panel of judges for their forward-thinking entries. Each winner will receive 500,000 base pairs of synthetic DNA manufactured on Gen9’s BioFab® platform.

The G-Prize contest was launched by Gen9 in 2012 to support innovation in the field of synthetic biology. As interest in synthetic biology has soared and its applications continue to expand, Gen9 has been dedicated to providing scientists easier access to affordable, highly accurate synthetic DNA. Past G-Prize awards have fueled innovative research projects in fields as diverse as reprogramming protein interactions, deciphering cellular networks, computational design of antibodies and microbial refactoring for space exploration.

Dr. Wang’s winning proposal for the G-Prize academic track aims to develop strains of E. coli with methylation patterns mirroring those in various other species, providing an epigenome engineering platform for adjusting gene expression and horizontal gene transfer in a range of bacteria.

“Winning Gen9’s G-Prize provides us with the high quality DNA that we need to meet our lab’s goal of building a new toolbox for engineering methylation patterns with synthetic biology,” said Dr. Wang. “The extensive use of Gen9’s gene synthesis technology will significantly accelerate our progress toward this important goal of building a platform for synthetic biologists around the world.”

Industrial Microbes, the winner of the G-Prize start-up track, outlined a proposal to produce environmentally responsible chemicals and fuels using low-cost greenhouse gases as raw materials. To do so, the team will use the synthetic DNA awarded through the G-Prize to evaluate and optimize a range of as-yet untested and newly discovered enzymes for use in their synthetic biology platform.

“Being chosen as the first start-up winner of Gen9’s G-Prize is a tremendous validation of our company’s novel scientific approach to the efficient and environmentally friendly production of fuels and chemicals,” said Derek Greenfield, Co-founder and CEO at Industrial Microbes. “Gaining access to this volume of synthetic DNA is a game-changer and eliminates the major bottleneck in our design-build-test workflow.”

“Each year we are amazed by the vision and creativity in the proposals submitted for the G-Prize,” said Kevin Munnelly, President and CEO of Gen9. “It is tremendously rewarding for the Gen9 team to see the remarkable accomplishments made by G-Prize winners, and we look forward to the great scientific advancements that will be made by the teams in Dr. Wang’s lab and at Industrial Microbes.”

Gen9 has developed unique, next-generation technologies for synthesizing and assembling DNA constructs for use in numerous applications, including antibody, peptide and enzyme engineering; gene and pathway building; and genome construction. The company’s proprietary BioFab® platform enables the production of high-quality synthetic DNA constructs at an unprecedented scale. Gen9 is the only commercially available provider using massively parallel gene synthesis to deliver affordable, clonal, sequence-verified DNA constructs as long as 10,000 base pairs.

For more information about the G-Prize and its winners, please visit www.gen9bio.com.

About Gen9

Gen9 is the premier next-generation gene synthesis company focused on high-quality, high-throughput, automated production of DNA constructs. The Gen9 technology allows for the lowest-cost and highest-quality DNA constructs commercially available. Founded by world leaders in synthetic biology, Gen9 aims to ensure the constructive application of synthetic biology in industries ranging from enzyme and chemical production to pharmaceuticals and biofuels. Gen9 is powering the synthetic biology revolution from our headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Visit Gen9 at www.gen9bio.com.

Gen9, GeneBit, GeneByte and BioFab are registered trademarks of Gen9, Inc.

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Eric Schubert, 415-939-4366
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