Global issues
are looming large.

While technology has reduced our workload and improved our quality of life, many of humanity’s greatest challenges remain, including:

  • Lethal pathogens such as Ebola, Zika, HIV and antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • Incurable diseases such as cancer and muscular dystrophy
  • Massive food shortages expected to occur due to our ever increasing global population
  • Climate change, pollution and other environmental problems making it even more difficult to feed our planet.

These challenges cannot be solved simply by fine-tuning current approaches.

The solution:
synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology designs and engineers new biological entities to solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges in health, food and the environment.


How has this area evolved?

  • Over millions of years, living things have developed the ability to convert waste to energy, ward off infection, produce fertilizer and more
  • Recently, genomics has unearthed the natural building blocks that impart these abilities
  • Designing and engineering new biological entities using these building blocks can help us cure diseases, mitigate climate change and feed a growing population sustainably.
Significant investments
are being made. In time & dollars.

Both the private and public sectors recognize the importance of synthetic biology – and they are pouring funds into this vital area:

  • Governments around the world have come onboard. For example, a combined $1.25 billion in public investment has been made by the U.S. and the U.K.
  • A U.S. petroleum giant recently invested $300 million to develop algae biofuels
  • A total of $700 million in venture capital was raised by synthetic biology start-ups in 2015 alone.

The global market for synthetic biology products was estimated at $3 billion in 2013 and is predicted to grow to $38.7 billion by 2020.

Watch what
synthetic biology can do.

See how synthetic biology is now solving real world problems across a wide range of application areas:

Synthetic Biology.
It's Yours To Discover.

Ontario is well positioned to develop synthetic biology solutions. We have a world-class understanding of biology in place and strong industry sectors that can lend support.


Synthetic biology is not just an interesting new discipline, it is the next frontier of technology where IT, genomics and engineering collide to drive an industrial and social revolution. Bold and decisive action is needed for Ontario to become a global leader in synthetic biology and we need to do all this to seize the opportunity:

  • Increase research capacity to grow our emerging synthetic biology community
  • Expand funding to support new synthetic biology tools and usage
  • Strengthen collaboration between synthetic biologists, researchers and end users
  • Innovate responsibly to ensure research and commercialization are done safely and the public is engaged
  • Enhance education by including synthetic biology in science and engineering curricula
  • Look globally to integrate into the international synthetic biology community and leverage its strengths.
Who could help.
lead the way?

We are working across Ontario to help:

  • Academic administrators make synthetic biology research a strategic priority, for instance, by creating a dedicated new faculty or department
  • University and college department leaders create a new program to train the brightest graduates
  • Funders develop Ontario leadership in synthetic biology research
  • Government ministries make synthetic biology part of their strategy to address provincial challenges and grow the economy.

View the complete report on Synthetic Biology in Ontario.


Corporate Information:
Ontario Genomics
MaRS Centre, West Tower
661 University Avenue, Suite 490
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1

Phone: 416.977.9582