Leading a New Revolution of Bio-manufacturing and Building a New Engine for Bioeconomy Engineering Biology Innovation Forum IV, SynBio China II, Asian Synthetic Biology Innovation Forum I Held in Shenzhen

Creation for knowledge and use. Synthetic biology is ushering in a historic opportunity for development. In 2022, the National Development and Reform Commission proposed in the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan for Bioeconomic Development that the proportion of bioeconomy added value in the GDP during the Fourteenth Five-Year Plan period should increase steadily, and the bioeconomy should become a strong driving force for high-quality development. The Opinions of Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government on the Development and Growth of Strategic Emerging Industrial Clusters and Cultivation and Development of Future Industries listed the biomedical industry cluster among the strategic emerging industries and listed synthetic biology among the key directions of industrial development, and supported the construction of synthetic biology infrastructure and synthetic biology R&D bases and industrial innovation centers. Under the guidance of national macro strategy and the regional industrial development layout, China’s bio-manufacturing and bioeconomy have entered a “fast track” of development.

Map a blueprint with opportunities and challenges. On April 27-28, with the theme of “Synbio: an Engine for the Future Bioeconomy”, the Engineering Biology Innovation Forum IV · Guangming Science City 2023, the SynBio China II and the Asian Synthetic Biology Innovation Forum I (hereinafter referred to as the event) were held in Shenzhen. As an annual event with high specification, level and involvement in the field of synthetic biology, it gathered guests of government, industry, universities, research institutes and capital at home and abroad and Asian representatives of synthetic biology from South Korea and Singapore to build an international exchange platform for synthetic biology, focus on hot topics such as technology innovation, industrial transformation and capital application, lead a new revolution of bio-manufacturing and build a new engine for bioeconomy. The event was attended by near 2,000 people from near 300 universities and research institutions, near 400 investors and more than 700 bio-manufacturers from home and abroad, with another 30 million people attending the event online.


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An international event gathering a lot of big names. Yang Shengli, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and a researcher with Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhao Guoping, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a researcher with the Outstanding Innovation Center for Molecular Plant Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ying Hanjie, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor from the School of Biological and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Nanjing Tech University, Fan Jianping, an academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, president of the SIAT, and director of the Preparatory Office of SIAT University, Zhang Xian’en, dean of the School of Synthetic Biology, SIAT University (preparatory) and a researcher with the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhang Youming, an academician of the German Acatech, a professor from the School of Synthetic Biology of SIAT University (preparatory) and director of the State Key Laboratory of Microbiology Technology of Shandong University, Mu Rongping, director of the Research Center for Innovation and Development of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Cai Zhiming, vice president of Shenzhen BGI Research Institute and preparatory president of Shenzhen Life Science and president of Shenzhen BGI Hospital, Chen Guoqiang, a professor with Tsinghua University and director of the Center for Synthetic and Systems Biology, Liu Chenli, vice president of SIAT, president of Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, and other renowned experts and scholars; Zhao Yan, chairman and general manager of Bloomage Biotechnology Corporation Limited, Song Weiping, president of Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group Co., Ltd. and chairman of Dabeinong Technology Innovation Fund, Liu Libin, a member of the Party committee and deputy general manager of Guangdong Guangxin Holding Group, and other industrial giants; Liu Ying, a partner of SoftBank China Venture Capital, Huang Li, the founding partner of Cowin Capital, Lin Xianghong, the founding partner of NRL Capital, and other investment elites. They would get together and contribute their wisdom with renowned foreign experts and scholars such as Byung-Kwan Cho, vice president of the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, Matthew Chang, director of the Singapore Synthetic Biology Federation and director of the Centre for Clinical and Technological Innovation in Synthetic Biology at the National University of Singapore, Professor John March from Cornell University.


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Blockbuster products released to lead a new revolution of bio-manufacturing

Core technology is vital to the nation. Realizing a high level of self-reliance and strength in science and technology is the only way to promote high-quality development. As the third biotechnology revolution after the “double helix structure of DNA” and “genome technology”, synthetic biology has deeply integrated multiple cutting-edge sciences such as molecular and cellular biology, engineering, biochemistry, and information technology, which is widely used in such fields as health, chemical industry and energy, food and beverage, information storage, and biological devices to provide new solutions for major issued and problems faced by the humankind such as health and medical treatment, energy and environment. In recent years, thanks to technological breakthroughs, policy support and other factors, China’s bio-manufacturing has been thriving, and the biological economy has witnessed an explosive growth.

At the conference, the Synthetic Biology Institute of SIAT, Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology and SIAT University (preparatory) jointly released the top 10 new synthetic biology products of Shenzhen in 2023, bringing new technological changes and industrial upgrading to the application fields of bio-manufacturing. As a new force in bio-manufacturing, the top 10 new products of 2023 covered application tracks such as chemicals, medical care, organism construction and automation platform, and food. On the race track of chemicals, the recombinant mussel protein released by PAML Biotechnology can be used to develop medical adhesives and recombinant mussel mucin repair dressings with both hemostatic and adhesive properties, which can be used to heal surgical incision at body surface, prevent scar formation and chromatosis, repair of skin barrier damage caused by dermatitis. On the race track of medical care, RH315, a new free-dried herpes zoster mRNA vaccine developed by Rhegen based on its mRNA technology platform with an independent intellectual property - R4 platform. Its pre-clinical efficacy and safety evaluation indicators are significantly better than those of other rival products. The freeze-dried preparation can be stored and transported in 2-8℃. On the whole, it is safe and effective and controllable in industrialization and has reached the world’s leading level. On the race track of biological construction and automation platform, the AI-based and super-large scale automated laboratory cluster solution released by XtalPI. Using intelligent synthesis workstation and automated experimental robot, it achieves high-throughput experimental verification. On the race track of food, low-purine sparkling wine released by Biosysen was developed relying on its own culture collection, automated strain breeding platform, high-throughput fermentation system and omics platform, with characteristics such as low miscellaneous alcohol, low purine, no sugar, no gluten and a pure and fresh taste.


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Build an industrial agglomeration ecology and create a new engine for bioeconomy

Reshape the ecology to attract talent and investment. The constantly subversive technological innovation of synthetic biology and the continuous expansion of application fields have contributed to the huge potential of bioeconomy. It’s predicted by McKinsey data that by 2025, the economic value of synthetic biology and bio-manufacturing will reach $100 billion, and 60% of the world’s material production can be achieved through bio-manufacturing in the future. Under the support of China’s policy and regional industrial layout, Shenzhen has become a highland of synthetic biology industry in China. According to incomplete statistics, the newly established synthetic biology enterprises in Shenzhen since 2020 have accounted for about 40% of the total in China. The conference has deeply integrated the innovation chain, industrial chain, capital chain and talent chain of synthetic biology, aiming to build the agglomeration ecology of synthetic biology industry and facilitate the leapfrog development of bioeconomy.

Make an inventory of the new forces of bioeconomy. At the conference, the “EB Insights” Creation 40 list of new prominent companies of synthetic biology was officially released, mapping a new blueprint for the synthetic biology industry. Selecting from the non-listed synthetic biology enterprises headquartered in China after a consideration of different dimensions of the candidates such as financing, technical direction, core technology level and layout, team strength, products and production lines in recent three years and partners and based on the opinions of multiple parties such as academic and industrial experts. Finally, 40 new most typical prominent enterprises of synthetic biology with a high growth potential have been selected, such as Synthera, Bluepha, Roumai Medical and Innorna.


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Build a new ecology of bioeconomy. At the conference, the inauguration of the Synthetic Biology Industry Innovation Alliance and the signing ceremony of the Capital Sub-alliance were held. According to the work deployment of “20 + 8” and “One Cluster and One Alliance” of Shenzhen Municipal Party Committee and Municipal Government, and under the guidance of Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee, Shenzhen Synthetic Biology Association initiated and established the Synthetic Biology Industry Innovation Alliance. As an exchange platform for science and technology, industry, and capital, the Alliance aims to unite all enterprises and individuals engaged in the research and development, production, service, and application of synthetic biology and work with the government, academy, industry, capital and all quarters of society to promote academic and industrial exchanges at home and abroad, accelerate the construction of synthetic biology industry clusters and ecology, and make contributions to building Shenzhen into a global highland of synthetic biology industry. In order to make a better use of capital power to support the development of the Alliance, Shenzhen Industrial Innovation Center for Engineering Biology, as a link organization, joined hands with the first 11 renowned investors to establish a capital sub-alliance, with an aim to promote the selection, incubation, resource import, investment and financing of excellent synthetic biology projects and empower synthetic biology enterprises to grow better and faster.


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Create a new highland of bioeconomy. At the conference, the “SynStar (SynOS) 300” plan was released, which will gather 300 synthetic biology enterprises in three years with the Synthetic Biology Industry Innovation Alliance as the leading party and based on the carriers and platforms such as SIAT, SIAT University (preparatory), Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology, Shenzhen Synthetic Biology Infrastructure and Shenzhen Industrial Innovation Center for Engineering Biology, with an aim to further accelerate the construction of industrial clusters and ecology, build a whole-process innovation ecological chain of “basic research,  technological breakthrough, achievement industrialization, science and technology finance and talent support” and scramble for the global highland of synthetic biology industry.


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Build a new platform for bioeconomy. At the conference, the Agricultural and Plant Synthetic Biology Research Center of Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology was inaugurated. The strength in agriculture is the foundation of a strong modern socialist country, and ensuring the stable and safe supply of grain and major agricultural products has always been the top priority in building a strong agricultural country. The Agricultural and Plant Synthetic Biology Research Center will introduce and unite world-famous plant biologists and outstanding young botanists to carry out world-class research in agriculture and plant synthetic biology, thereby developing and utilizing new technologies of crop breeding and production, developing new agricultural products such as algae, developing and utilizing synthetic agriculture microorganisms, leading and promoting a new generation of emerging industries such as biological breeding, green manufacturing, and green agriculture and ecology.


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Create a grand event for the youth to carry on and focus on a new future of synthetic biology

A wonderful feast of thoughts. The conference set up links such as Talk on Engineering Biology, a High-end Roundtable Forum on Synthetic Biology and International Forum on Synthetic Biology; keynote speeches on topics such as bio-manufacturing and bioeconomy driven by synthetic biology, futuristic industry and sustainable development of synthetic biology, synthetic biology automation and infrastructure; roundtable dialogues on synthetic biology with themes such as “synthetic biology and carbon neutrality / carbon peak / bio-manufacturing”, “synthetic biology and medicine”, “synthetic biology and food / consumer goods”, “synthetic biology industry’s long-term rational prosperity - intellectual property protection and planning, market cycle and thinking”, “standardization and automation of synthetic biology industry”; a roundtable dialogue on the international cooperation and exchange of synthetic biology with the theme of “Synthetic Biology: International Communications and Collaborations”; a roundtable dialogue of young synthetic biology scholars with the theme of “Come on, the Teenagers in Synthetic Biology”; and project roadshows that highlighted the emerging forces in the era of synthetic biology. The event explored all aspects of synthetic biology, and brought a feast of thoughts on the development and future of bio-manufacturing and bioeconomy.


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Young scholars anchor the future. Young scientific and technological talents are the backbone for building a strong country in science and technology. The conference launched a “SynBio Camp”. Students winning an award in the synthetic biology competition from universities such as Tsinghua University, Dalian University of Technology and Huazhong University of Science and Technology were immersed in the conference and gathered with renowned scholars and industrial elites in links such as the Panel Discussion and Roundtable Dialogue and explored the future and development of synthetic biology. It is worth noting that, as a globally influential synthetic biology innovation activity for young students based on China, the signing up for the second Synthetic Biology Competition has been launched. The Synthetic Biology Competition is hosted by the Synthetic Biology Branch of the Chinese Society of Biological Engineering, which will create a grand event of synthetic biology to be carried on by the youth and a creation platform for the youth, and explore the innovation and application of synthetic biology in different fields.

Synthetic organisms are promising in the future. The conference was guided by the Shenzhen Municipal People’s Government, and co-hosted by the Development and Reform Commission of Shenzhen, Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Committee, the People’s Government of Guangming District, the Synthetic Biology Branch of Chinese Society of Biotechnology, ANSO “Belt and Road” Alliance of International Science Organizations, SIAT University (preparatory), SIAT and Asian Synthetic Biology Association.

Under the background of the construction of “Double Zones” and the practice of “Double Reforms” in Shenzhen, as one of the hosting parties of the event, SIAT has not only assumed the construction of a series of major carriers such as “Shenzhen Synthetic Biology Infrastructure”, “Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology”, “the School of Synthetic Biology of SIAT University (preparatory)” and “Shenzhen Industrial Innovation Center for Synthetic Biology”, but also contributed advanced experience of “establishing a whole-process innovation ecological chain and boosting the high-quality development of substantial economy” in 16 years of development, which has been promoted nationwide by the National Development and Reform Commission, in an effort to build a global innovation and cooperation platform of synthetic biology, enhance China’s international status in the core technology of synthetic biology, lead the new revolution of bio-manufacturing, build a new engine for bioeconomy and solidify China’s leading advantage in global arena of synthetic biology.