We’re at the dawn of a new era where we’re truly able to design biology: from genetically engineered cotton, to meat made from plants, to incredibly complex new therapies composed of engineered cells and genes. And that’s just the very beginning. One day, just about everything will be genetically engineered, from our medicines to our materials and manufacturing and much more. The question is no longer, can we design biology? Instead the question now is, what can we build with these tools?
So how does that really happen? How can we build precise functions and circuits inside cells? How might we we engineer a cell to sense and perceive its environment, and respond to it? What new generation of companies will be built around these new capabilities? In this episode, Alec Nielsen, co-founder and CEO of Asimov, a company that builds tools to program living cells; Vijay Pande, General Partner at a16z; and Bio Eats World host Hanne Winarsky talk about where we are on the way to this future, what scientific and industry breakthroughs got us here, and the new tools we need—libraries of genetic parts, new platforms, computer simulations and more—to truly design living systems.
Vijay Pande is the founding General Partner of a16z Bio + Health, focused on the cross-section of biology and computer science.
Hanne Winarsky is the Head of Writer Acquisition & Development at Substack.
Between the growing ability to engineer biology for therapeutics, and the integration of tech into how patients receive care, bio and health are fundamentally changing the world. Join the team at a16z and host Olivia Webb as they discuss these transformations with scientists, builders, and leaders.