Biotechnology is the use of technology to modify or manipulate living systems or parts of living systems for the generation of useful products, biological processing, to treat disease or to acquire knowledge. Products manufactured or processed using biotechnology are found in agricultural, pharmaceutical, food, chemical and biofuel industries. Biotechnology is also used in waste treatment.
Biotechnology is used to modify living systems or parts of living systems based on knowledge about essential parts or processes which allow living things to grow, reproduce, use resources and respond to their environment.
Biotechnology tools have been developed in research areas such as molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, genetics, microbiology, cell biology and agriculture.
Gene editing tools
Biomaterials interact with biological systems. They can be natural or synthetic, alive or lifeless and are made of multiple components. Biomaterials are often used in medical applications.
Biomolecules, also called biological molecules, are molecules produced by cells of living organisms. DNA, RNA and enzymes are examples of biomolecules. The following are biomolecules with uses in pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics or textiles.
Mapping projects serve as reference manuals to living systems by showing the organization of components within living organisms. Mapping projects promote the sharing of biological information.
Facilitating access to DNA sequences
Large biopharmaceutical companies
The following companies are using biotechnology in disease research and in development and production of medicine or therapies for a range of injuries or illnesses.
Drug delivery system
Drug discovery platforms
Therapeutics targeting RNA splicing
Multi-drug resistant bacteria
Depression and anxiety
Autoimmune and inflammatory disease
Respiratory and pulmonary disease
Contract research companies
Alzheimer's, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases
Eye disease or injury
Antibacterial products and therapeutics
Plant-based manufacturing of therapeutics and vaccines
Live bacteria therapeutic delivery systems
Genome editing and gene therapy
Drug discovery in microbes
Theranostics combines diagnotics and therapeutics.
In vitro diagnostics (IVD) and molecular diagnostics companies
Biotechnology is used by IVD companies to develop tests that detect diseases in vitro, meaning outside the body, from human samples like blood, urine and tissue. Molecular diagnostics are a subset of tests within IVD which detect DNA and RNA in order to assess health. Examples are detection of disease-causing gene mutations or presence of viral DNA or RNA. Detection of proteins using antibodies is considered separate from molecular diagnostics but falls under IVD. In addition to molecular diagnostics and immunoassays, the IVD market also includes clinical chemistry, hematology analyzers and microbiology culture.
- Cas12a based DETECTR system to detect viruses
- Cas12a based HOMES system to detect viruses and small nucleotide polymorphism sites in human DNA related to health and personal characteristics
- Cas12- and Cas13- based molecular diagnostics by Mammoth Biosciences
- CRISPR-on-a-chip for cancer diagnostics
Advising oncology treatment based on molecular tests
Personalized health and disease risk testing
Genetic Testing for Disease Risks
Epigenetic Testing for Disease Risks
Large Genomics and Health Studies
Genomic analysis for drug development and deployment
- Juno Bio
Quantum computing applications in life sciences
Genetic ancestry testing
Imaging technology and bioanalytics
- Vivax Bio and its subsidiary, 3D Bioprinting Solutions
Biotechnology companies that provide research tools
The following companies that produce instruments, kits, reagents and computer software for basic and applied biological research.
Microfluidic cell culture, organ-on-a-chip, human-on-a-chip
Sustainable and biodegradable materials
Agriculture (Ag biotech)
Biological control systems
- Oxitec (insect-based control of disease-carrying mosquitoes and crop-damaging insects)
Carbon capture and conversion
First generation biofuels include ethanol and plant oil produced from sugar and starch. Second generation biofuels are produced from non-food biomass called lignocellulose and are called cellulosic biofuels. Third generation biofuels are derived from algae and produce feedstock as well as fuel. Fourth generation biofuels are electrofuels or photobiological solar fuels.
Biotechnology in conservation
Blockchain and biology
The ability of blockchain to facilitate transparency, control and sharing of information, while keeping data secure, is being applied to biotechnology. Blockchain technology in data storage and online platforms can improve sharing and access to information and also provide quicker ways for tracking and managing various steps in drug development.
For immunotherapies such as CAR-T cell therapy, blockchain can provide ways to store, maintain, track and secure information about cells derived from a donor patient like editing performed, storage conditions and transport from donor to recipient. Information must be accessible to patients, physicians, laboratory scientists, logistics companies, supply chains and infusion centers.
Other biotechnology companies
Biotech startup support
Consultants in Biotechnology
Community biolabs and projects
- Transtech Conference
- International Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology
- Discovery On Target
- Biotech Showcase
- Cell Series USA
- The American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting
- The American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting
1H 2019 biopharma startup and VC report
Documentaries, videos and podcasts