FROM GLOWING PLANT TO TAXA BIOTECHNOLOGIES: A NEW BUSINESS MODEL FOR SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY?
Do you remember Glowing Plants, the oversubscribed Kickstarter campaign from couple of years back? To refresh your memory Glowing Plants is a project by Anthony Evans aiming to create a genetically engineered glowing plant just for the fun of it. This was the first Kickstarter funded biotech project made possible by the massive decrease of DNA sequencing and synthesis costs. Bellow is the original Kickstarter video:
Fast forward a couple of years and it appears Anthony had more on his mind. While the original project is still underway having suffered some unexpected delays, the team has created a company named TAXA Biotechnologies, which according to the founders is supposed to serve as a on-demand bio-engineering platform. The company is currently running an equity financing round over at WeFunder with a target of $1 million for a 7 million valuation making use of the new Crowdfunding rules by the SEC allowing unaccredited investors to invest up to $2000 per year.
Back to TAXA, according to their web page their upcoming products (aside from glowing plants) are real blue roses, glowing bacteria liquid cultures and fragrant moss. While the idea of a glowing flower at home does sound very appealing, we find the business model behind the project much more interesting. It proves that the barriers of entry in the biotechnology industry have fallen so far as to make the financing of a new product possible for relative outsiders. Anthony Evans himself is proponent of open source with all of their glowing plant design (as well as the software used to design the DNA) available for download. The TAXA platform was itself created as a on-demand research platform reducing the need for specific domain knowledge even further. If you have an hour to kill the blog over at glowingplant.com offers some interesting insights, especially related to the regulatory environment.
Do you have a brilliant idea for a biotechnology company? Maybe it is just a Kickstarter campaign away. If not you can still participate via the WeFunder campaign and this time as investor.