Skip to content

Tag Archives: business


Check out the June issue of Fast Company for my story on SAGE Labs, a division of Sigma-Aldrich, and their groundbreaking work engineering rats for medical research. Rabbits, pigs, and even monkeys are next. Sigma also recently announced plans for the commercial development of genetically engineered silkworms that spin high-strength spider silk, for which there […]

Craig Venter, Businessman? Not So Much

Says Andrew Pollock in the New York Times. Regarding his biofuel efforts, the killer quote, I think comes from Jay Keasling: “I don’t know how many decades his funders have given him.” George Church, as he has repeatedly in the past, questions the wisdom and practicality of engineering organisms from scratch rather than simply re-engineering […]

Startup Nation: Revitalizing the Entrepreneurial Network

“Bring on the Entrepreneurs,” the article that Amy Barrett and I co-wrote for the July/August issue of Inc. magazine, has been generating a steady stream of comments on Inc.’s website — mostly positive, but with some dissenters to be sure. To generalize, the critics of the policies we prescribe in the piece take a predictable […]

The New Creative Commons: Part 2

In a recent Inc. magazine story, I wrote about the Tech Shop and La Cocina, a kitchen incubator in San Francisco, as examples of physical spaces whose shared tools and resources are making possible a new wave of innovation and, with it, entrepreneurial activity. In my research I came across information on another project that […]

One Word: Plastics

It’s looking more and more like the first big proof-of-concept for commercial synthetic biology will be in biofuels or so-called white or green chemistry — the production of “clean” organic chemicals and materials with the aid of biotechnology, using the same sort of souped-up fermentation process being tried out for fuels. The November 26th 2009 […]

Linda Avey on Mother Jones’ 23andMe Story

In response to my last post about the Mother Jones story on DTC genomics company 23andMe, I got a (friendly) email from Linda Avey, who left the company in September to start an Alzheimer’s research foundation called Brainstorm. Avey wrote that although she no longer speaks for the company, she felt it was important to […]

Mother Jones on the Real DTC Genomics Business Model

Does Mother Jones know that Linda Avey has left the building? I suppose Shannon Brownlee’s article on 23andMe in the November/December issue of the magazine could have gone to press before cofounder Avey’s departure was announced September 4, 2009, and was widely discussed in the genomics community. But even on the MoJo blog yesterday, there’s […]

Big Investors Embrace Multiple Pathways to Next-Gen Biofuels

This summer, I blogged about Joule Biotechnologies’ high-profile quest to make “solar ethanol” and wondered how it would affect other startups also using synthetic biology to make biofuel production more efficient. Particularly, I wondered whether VC firm Flagship Ventures would continue to support the fuel-focused work of LS9, which in May entered a major deal […]

BioBricks and Ginkgo Bioworks in Wired U.K.

Last week I wrote about Ginkgo Bioworks’ move into a new location on Boston’s waterfront. I have to say that for a tiny company, they’ve done a great job getting and keeping visible in the media. In addition to the recent flurry of attention generated by the move and this piece in MIT’s Technology Review, […]

Big, Blue Horse Enters Sequencing Race

Now, this is interesting. Writing in the New York Times, John Markoff reports that  “one of the oldest names in computing is joining the race to sequence the genome for $1,000. On Tuesday, I.B.M. plans to give technical details of its effort to reach and surpass that goal, ultimately bringing the cost to as low […]