London, UK, 11th August 2016 / Sciad NewswireToday marks the launch of Bio-start, an annual competition designed to bolster UK companies aiming to solve significant global problems through synthetic biology.

Competition founders SynbiCITE and Rainbow Seed Fund have created Bio-start to incentivise innovative early-stage companies and people with great engineering biology ideas. The not-for-profit competition offers the winner a combination of £100k cash plus laboratory space, a ten-week accelerator programme with mentorship, consumables and professional services valued at ~£100k. 

The UK government has identified synthetic biology as one of the UK’s “eight great technologies” and a key high-growth emerging technology. Synthetic biology has been described as the design and engineering of biologically based components, novel devices and systems as well as the redesign of existing, natural biological systems. This cutting-edge discipline has the potential to address many of the environmental and societal challenges of this century, from providing sustainable energy, the development of new drugs, and waste remediation through to alleviating food and water shortages.                      

Registrations must be completed by midnight on 14th October 2016 using the application form on the website and completed entries must be submitted by midnight on 31st December 2016. Application areas can be in healthcare, clean tech, industrial biotech or any sector that can make use of synthetic biology.

Co-founder Dr  Stephen Chambers, CEO of SynbiCITE, said: “This is a first in the UK for synthetic biology and our aim is to help as many companies and entrepreneurs as we can. Once applications have been assessed up to twenty-five companies will go through our ten-week boot-camp and mentoring programme. Up to ten of these companies will go through to the final awards evening where they’ll have a chance to pitch their ideas to an expert panel in front of an audience of investors and industry leaders.”

Oliver Sexton, Investment Director at Rainbow Seed Fund, added: “Bio-start is a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs working in this burgeoning sector. We’re confident about the UK’s strength in synthetic biology and believe there is potential to build world-class companies in the UK. Bio-start is an important element in our strategy of helping develop this promising sector. It will also be an opportunity for corporate sponsors to engage with promising young companies in the synthetic biology industry.”  

Competition details can be found at

Please note: Competition Terms & Conditions apply.


For more information contact:

Stephen Chambers 
Tel. +44 (0) 20 7594 9902

Oliver Sexton 
Investment Director, Rainbow Seed Fund,
Tel: +44 (0) 121 710 1990

Media Relations

Richard Anderson:, Tel: +44 (0)7973 950376
James Motteram: Tel: +44 (0)20 7470 8801
Jennifer Edwards:, Tel: +44 (0) 121 710 1990

Editors Notes

About SynbiCITE

SynbiCITE is a pioneering Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) dedicated to promoting the adoption and use of synthetic biology by industry. SynbiCITE and partners across the UK and globally are committed to developing this technology through responsible innovation which encompasses ethical, societal and environmental considerations. SynbiCITE is focused at Imperial College London and is – with partners from industry, academia and organisations that help develop business growth – accelerating the commercialisation of world-class science and the emerging technologies encompassed by synthetic biology into new products, tools, processes and services. SynbiCITE  is growing UK industry in the sector and improving synthetic biology innovation, using industry to achieve significant economic impact, generate wealth for the companies, generate skilled workers and create jobs. 

About Rainbow Seed Fund

The Rainbow Seed Fund invests at the earliest stages of development, often before a company is formed.  Leveraging its experience and contacts to create a commercially viable proposition, the fund helps build companies from great science developed in laboratories, science and technology campuses and synthetic biology. Rainbow holds investments in some of the UK’s most innovative companies, in areas as diverse as novel antibiotics, research into Alzheimer’s disease, “green” chemicals and airport security. Recent synthetic biology investments include Synthace, Quethera and Desktop Genetics. In 2013, Rainbow announced a new £10M synthetic biology fund that helps companies in the early stages of their journey towards sustainability, through investment, strategic support and leveraging private capital. 

Got an innovation you need bringing to life?

We’d love to hear from you! Head to our contact page to start a conversation.

Photo of Jasmin Shearan