You can access and add to a list of companies within this stack here

You can access and add to a list of companies within this stack here

How can we produce and supply enough safe and nutritious food in a sustainable way to a population which is expected to exceed 9 billion? How can we keep global warming under 1.5C, or even 2C, whilst petrochemistry provides most of the energy and materials this rising population requires? How can we outwit diseases that have so far outwitted us and continue to meaningfully extend human healthspan and lifespan? Most of the key questions facing us, most of them requiring urgent answers, hinge on our understanding and use of biology.

It is perhaps a lucky coincidence that both are accelerating like never before. An ever increasing community of life scientists, leveraging technologies that were completely out of reach just until recently, is causing the rate of innovation in biology to outpace Moore’s law. Cheap genomic sequencing and novel gene-editing methods, alongside other recent advances in DNA synthesis and transcriptomics and the increasing adoption of AI, are starting to make biology data-driven, programmable, and scalable. Companies like Solugen, Perfect Day and Moderna are some of the first to use this new, software-like quality of biology to drive forward new products of “the bioeconomy”. We expect bioeconomy companies to become some of the world’s most valuable in the next 30 years.

As players within the bioeconomy specialise, tools and services that have developed in isolation over the past few decades are becoming components of an exciting new “stack” to serve this community and make it more efficient. Here, we present a view of this stack, using the product development “lab-to-market” process, inspired by our knowledge of software products, as a framework.

It should be noted that many of the companies mentioned currently span multiple layers: for example, Moderna’s COVID vaccines currently span all layers of our stack. These vertically integrated propositions have also attracted the vast majority of VC funding so far, and are likely to continue doing so. As markets turn to synbio and the stack’s technologies mature, we think players that are focused on horizontal layers will continue to emerge alongside today’s vertically integrated companies. These companies will focus on infrastructure, adopt licensing and partnership models and benefit from avoiding the additional burden often incurred by serving end markets.

Stack layers

We’ve included a small selection of company examples for each layer (note that we’ve prioritised European companies, even when earlier stage), but have collated an initial database of other companies & tools here. We’d love to enlist your help to add the many companies and tools we’re sure we don’t know and make this a resource for the amazing bio + tech community.


End Products Layer

McKinsey estimates that 60% of the world’s physical inputs could be made with biology, representing USD$2-$4 trillion in annual direct economic potential in agriculture, materials & energy, consumer products, and health/pharma. In the end products layer, companies are developing end products in these categories, for businesses and consumers. Today, product development infrastructure is still an important part of these companies. Example companies include:

Many other companies are emerging to finally bring to market products that have notoriously been hard to develop, from biofuels to bioplastics. The tech bio stack can hopefully help them overcome some of the challenges that have in the past led to failure in these fields.

Regulatory Layer

The regulatory layer is naturally most relevant to healthcare and foods. The FDA/EMA/regional food and health authorities are the gatekeepers for any novel therapy that hopes to make it onto market and exist to protect patients (they also play a huge role on novel food products coming onto market - again with consumer health at the center). Within this layer of the stack, new tech tools are helping companies successfully navigate the different steps of the regulatory process, from trial design, to recruitment, to working with regulatory bodies. Example companies include: