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Singularity University launches synthetic biology accelerator

The new program will give three initial companies a leg up in getting their startups off the ground. The accelerator will be modeled on those that traditionally work with tech and biotech startups.

Singularity University announced the SuynBio Startup Launchpad accelerator program today. Singularity University

Synthetic biology startups have a new friend in Silicon Valley.

Today, Singularity University pulled back the wraps on its new SynBio Startup Launchpad, an accelerator program designed to boost the prospects of entrepreneurs in the blossoming field.

As part of the unveiling of the accelerator program, Singularity University announced the first three companies that are "seeking to apply the rapid-cycle, low-cost approaches employed by tech and biotech startups."

Those companies are Evolutionary Solutions, which is building a genome synthesis device; Modern Meadow, which is using tissue-engineering techniques to generate large amounts of animal protein for textiles and food; and SoilGene, which is blending bioinformatic and metagenomic strategies to "survey land opportunities for the natural resources and agricultural sectors."

Following the model set by traditional tech and biotech startups is an approach that makes sense for a new accelerator program that will place its participating companies in Newark, Calif., less than 20 miles from the heart of Silicon Valley, where Singularity University is based.

And while Singularity University has for several years been providing talented graduate-school level and executive students with an intensive introduction into exponentially developing technologies, this is the first time the institution has launched an effort to formally support new startups working in those areas.

As part of their participation in the program, the three companies chosen for the accelerator will be based at Triple Ring Technologies, which was selected because of its lab and engineering facilities, as well as its staff's substantial expertise in the commercialization and innovation in the life sciences. Each of the three companies will spend four months receiving intense personal mentoring and help with bringing their work to market.

The accelerator was the brainchild of Singularity University biotechnology and bioinformatics track chair Andrew Hessel, and NASA Ames Research Center synthetic biologist John Cumbers.