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Frequently Asked Questions

Synthetic Genomics

What is Synthetic Genomics Inc.?

Synthetic Genomics, Inc. (SGI) was founded in February 2005 to apply genomic technologies in the development of commercial solutions for major global issues. SGI is focusing first on energy and chemical solutions as there is a need for cleaner, greener sources for these products and because they represent large revenue opportunities. Currently, SGI has several partnered programs, as well as several independent, internally funded strategic projects.

  • Designing metabolic pathways for the production of biochemicals and next generation biofuels from a variety of feedstocks
  • Developing biological solutions to increase the conversion and recovery rates of subsurface hydrocarbons
  • Developing advanced plant feedstocks and microbial agents for agriculture

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Who are the leaders at Synthetic Genomics?

The scientific strength of SGI lies in the decades of pioneering scientific research by its world-renowned founders and lead researchers. Our leaders are:

  • J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
    Board Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO of SGI
  • Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.
    Co-Founder and Co-Chief Scientific Officer of SGI
  • Jim Flatt, Ph.D.
    Chief Technology Officer
  • Joseph Mahler
    Chief Financial Officer
  • Fernanda Gandara
    Sr. Vice President, Business Development
  • George E. Stagnitti
    Vice President, Nutritional Products
  • Toby Richardson, Ph.D.
    Vice President, Bioinformatics

The company's scientific team includes other leading researchers with expertise in plant genomics, bioinformatics, metabolic engineering, molecular biology, biochemistry, and climate change and energy policy.

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Who are Synthetic Genomics' board members?

  • Juan Enriquez
    Co-Founder of SGI; Managing Director, Excel Venture Management
  • Steve Jurvetson
    Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • David Kiernan, M.D., J.D.
    Co-Founder of SGI; Senior Litigation Partner at Williams & Connolly
  • Alfonso Romo
    Chairman and CEO of Plenus
  • Barry Schuler
    Chairman and CEO of Raydiance, Inc.; Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund
  • Hamilton O. Smith, M.D.
    Co-Founder and Co-Chief Scientific Officer of SGI
  • J. Craig Venter, Ph.D.
    Board Chairman, Co-Founder and CEO of SGI

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Who are Synthetic Genomics' investors?

The company's largest investors include: BP plc; Biotechonomy LLC; Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Plenus, S.A. de C.v.; Asiatic Centre for Genome Technology; and Meteor Group LLC.

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What is Synthetic Genomics' relationship with the J. Craig Venter Institute?

The company's scientific capabilities encompass areas such as environmental genomics, microbiology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, plant genomics, genome engineering, synthetic biology, and climate change. In addition to the strong applied research efforts conducted at SGI, the company sponsors fundamental research at the J. Craig Venter Institute, a not-for-profit organization with more than 400 scientists and staff working on a variety of genomic research and policy fronts.

In addition to the Intellectual Property developed internally, SGI has exclusive access to new inventions and discoveries developed by the JCVI under the Sponsored Research Agreement between both organizations.

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What is synthetic genomics?

Synthetic genomics is a new field of science that involves the design and assembly of genes and gene pathways and whole chromosomes from chemical components of DNA. As a computer analogy, we view the genome of a cell as the operating system and the cytoplasm of the cell as the hardware. The cytoplasm contains the ribosomes and the other components necessary for expression of genetic information contained in the genome. SGI's goal is to modify the cell's operating system, design new genomes and to code for new types of cells with desired properties for the production of bioenergy or substitutes for petrochemicals.

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