Sep 10, 2017
The British Standards Institution asked RAND Europe to conduct a study identifying the impact that adoption of synthetic biology is likely to have on the global marketplace (buyers, sellers and users) as well as any existing barriers or obstacles preventing the rapid scale-up and commercialisation of the technology.
Synthetic biology can generally be thought of as a platform technology that enables the design and engineering of biologically based systems. Through a literature review and stakeholder interviews we have developed a categorisation of the synthetic biology value chain, splitting it into three parts: an idea of the product to be produced; the engineering steps of design, build, test repeated until the desired product is produced; and a scale-up process to produce enough product for it to be usable as a product in its own right, or within other industries. We identified a series of drivers that will influence the field of synthetic biology in the future, and mapped these onto the stages of the value chain. Finally we used scenarios to explore future opportunities for synthetic biology and to test the role standards might play.
Companies generally thought that standards will help to reduce uncertainty and overcome a variety of barriers they encounter en-route to commercialisation. In setting standards the community needs to make sure it does not lose sight of the importance of 'soft' standards, which can facilitate norms and behaviours within the sector, as well as affect how synthetic biology is perceived by society.
Value chain analysis
Barriers and challenges for commercialisation
Standards in synthetic biology