The Economist has a good article on biotech this week. The moral of the story is that there’s a lot more to biotech than the pharmaceuticals business. Industrial solvents, food products, textiles, energy production, even the feedstocks to the plastics industry can be produced from living organisms that have been appropriately wired. Early indications are very promising. As the money pours in and the public catches on, we’ll soon find out if people are as opposed to genetically modified laundry starch as they are to genetically modified corn flakes.
I was intrigued by the description of a French company mentioned late in the article: Metabolic Explorer. Assuming it works as advertised, they have a terrific business model: “In silico lead strain generation for the development of new bioprocesses to replace existing chemical syntheses.” Check out their Products and Service page.