Jiemian News|After the first year of synthetic biology track: different routes and anxious investors

From stdaily.com

reporter: Li Jingya
edit: Wen Yanqi

Just like the autonomous driving in 2020 and the artificial intelligence in 2016, synthetic creatures ushered in their first year. This long -standing track in China has passed the warm spring and arrived directly in the midsummer.

According to CBINSIGHTS, in 2020-2025, the global synthetic biological market will maintain a high annual compound growth rate of 22.5%, which will exceed $ 20 billion in 2025.

Synthetic creatures are the concept proposed in the last century. Among the many definitions, the simplest description is that synthetic creatures are highly precise biological design, ultra -high -throughput screening platforms for organism design, enzyme DNA synthesis and new gene editing platforms The development of new technologies has promoted the innovation of synthetic creatures. In 2018, synthetic biology has accumulated technical accumulation in each link in the design-construction-test-learning cycle. This represents the high-efficiency, clean and low-cost emerging technologies also ushered in the first financing high. According to CRUNCHBASE data, the total financing in the field of synthesis of biology was as high as 3.8 billion US dollars in 2018.

With the continuous advancement of technology and the higher degree of attention from the scientific community, the synthetic biological field ushered in its second turning point in 2021. According to SYNBIOBETA data, last year was the best year for the overall investment trend of synthetic biology startups in history. It has received a total of nearly $ 18 billion in investment, which is almost a few years since the field has appeared in the field in 2009.

In April 2021, Zymergen was listed on Nasdaq. The star unicorn bet on the SoftBank successfully developed a high -quality optical film that can be used for folding screen -in conservative estimates in the industry. The total market opportunity for potential products is At 1.2 trillion US dollars, its listing has become a milestone in the synthetic biological world. Five months later, the synthetic biological platform giant Ginkgobioworks landed on the New York Stock Exchange, which is one of the largest Spac mergers and acquisitions in history.

Driven by the North American market, the long -established domestic synthetic biological field has heated rapidly. The two leading companies, Kaisai Biology and Huaheng Biological, successfully landed on the science and technology board, with a price -earnings ratio of about 70 times, far exceeding the traditional chemical industry. With carbon neutralization and promoting green biological manufacturing air outlets, the harvesting momentum of the capital market has been rapidly stimulated. According to the EU -Europe data, from 2021 to March 2022, 16 domestic companies completed financing. The total amount of financing exceeds 2.5 billion yuan. Among them, there were 8 companies participating in financing in 2021, and in the first three months of 2022, it was already the same as the year in 2021.

The enthusiasm is not enough to describe the attitude of domestic wind investment circles to synthetic creatures. Zhang Zhichao, an investor in Huachuang Capital, mentioned that from last year to the present, VC investors have "ca n’t help but dare not watch."

Medical, health, chemical industry, food, agriculture and consumer goods are the most important downstream market for synthetic biology. At present, each segment has maintained high -speed growth. From the perspective of market investment categories, the injection of domestic capital is also concentrated in these fields.

Hao Yang, vice president of Huaxing Capital, told the interface news that the synthetic biological start -ups that showed deep thinking in the selection stage were welcomed by VC, but since then they need to further establish a profit model to answer who their customers are.

The synthetic creature discussed in this article is a narrow concept of synthetic biology that concentrates in industrial applications. The company refers to an application -based research enterprise in the lower reaches. Sequencing, DNA synthesis, and industrial enzyme preparation enterprises. The midstream is a company that guides the synthesis link through computer engineering.

The essence of route dispute

According to CITIC Securities Research Report, as of now, there are as many as 500 companies engaged in synthetic biology, and domestic companies are close to dozens of companies.

Platform -type and product -oriented companies are two mature business models from the leader in the field.

The platform model aims to provide platform -based integrated systems such as organism design and software development. Representative companies include Amyris, the originator of the United States, and Ginkgo Bioworks, a super unicorns of the biological biology; Star Company Zymergen, the leading fields of Huoheng, Kaisai Biology, Sanyuan Biology, Jindan Technology, Probiotics industry, which have been listed in China.

Domestic synthetic creatures are in the early days of development, and the entire industrial chain is not mature. There are many opportunities for imported alternatives. Earlier, the Kaisai creatures that landed in the Kyoto Board have achieved profitability. The industry ceiling is clear, making many investors' words more optimistic about product companies.

A header VC partner told the interface news that there are many market segments in the medical track. There is no need to do a platform. As long as VC finds the seedlings that can achieve absolute faucet in a very segmented field, as well as synthetic creatures.

But when investors voted with their feet, the answer changed. Last year, the State Create creative creatures received four rounds of financing in a year, and currently financing over 100 million US dollars. On the surface, this company is a typical product type player. It already owns star products such as polypeptides and redttosol, but it initially established platform technology and strain library component libraries. Zhang Zhigan, the founder of the post -95 post -95s, found that it is difficult to make a pure technology R & D platform like a synthetic biological unicorn Ginkgo in China. More importantly, the technical maturity and market acceptance are accurately combined to make business Value platform.

Blue crystal microorganisms that refresh the financing record of similar companies in the first -level market, develop biodegradable materials PHA series products, and reduce production costs by more than 50%. New product pipeline extension. The B -series financing of this Gao Ling's company received 1.5 billion yuan.

The micro -structure workshop, which was led by Sequoia, refreshed the highest record of round A financing in the industry. This rookie established last year was a platform+product model, which was both pronounced in production and technical cooperation. The micro -structure workshop has many years of technical accumulation of the Tsinghua team. At the beginning of entrepreneurship, it aimed at one of the highest technical walls on the market -bioplastics. The pHA materials with the most types of synthesis through the transformation of salt addiction strains were subverted to the foundation of traditional fermentation. The underlying technology, also has high value -added products such as tetramidine, pentramine, austerol, amino acid, and protease.

It can be found that the most popular synthetic biological startup company runs through all levels of the industrial chain. "Doing the entire industry chain is because we want to eat the gross profit of the whole industry, not just an outsourcing soup." The founder of Lanjing Microbial said recently.

Wu Linqing, co -founder of the Micro -Structure Workshop, made a new judgment. The development direction of the domestic synthetic biological track will be similar to the current pattern. Most companies that can run out have their own unique platform or superior fist products. More, it will have platform technology and product output.

In the existing industrial chain that is not clear in division of labor, companies that cut in from various links are building a closed loop of the entire industrial chain and returning to the same way.

The industry believes that synthetic biology and chemical synthesis are different. The production mechanism is special. There is no need to build a factory or a large number of workers. In fact, several companies that have completed large financing last year have built factories. The interface news was informed that the state -created creature built a 10,000 -square -meter factory in Shandong last year, and the production capacity has exceeded 10,000 tons. The product leader and Huaxi creature that have achieved profitable products are extending downstream, and they have also begun to build large -scale chemical plants. According to the 21st Century Economic Herald, another product type represents the establishment of the R & D headquarters in Suzhou, Jiangsu, and has a production base in Changde, Hunan.

Micro -Structural Workshop Wu Linqing believes that with the development of synthetic biological companies, in order to improve the competitiveness and profitability of enterprises, it is an inevitable option to extend downstream product chain. Public information shows that Huaxi Biological has opened up the upstream and downstream industrial chain around the hyaluronic acid, creating more high value -added products; the nylon products made by Kaisai's synthetic biology are mainly nylon 56, and now it is also fiber in the downstream.

Furthermore, the dispute between the path of synthetic biological entrepreneurship is to create a problem of products that have done well in the market or create a new market. The latter's ceiling is higher and the risks are greater.

Anxious investors in the early market

The rise of new technologies will always involve excessive interpretation. The synthetic biology is in the cross -integrated integrated area of the discipline, which is more likely to be excessively myth.

After the track and financing accelerated, there was a company that could not get any formal products but financed hundreds of millions of financing. It also emerged as a high -end cosmetics raw material enterprise that seemed to seek financing.

The head VC investor of a new medical track said that the biggest problem of synthetic creatures is overheating now. Some unrelated companies are packaged into synthetic creatures in the market. It's difficult.

The most basic problem of synthetic biology entrepreneurship is selection. Hyalin, the core product of the American synthetic biological unicorn Zymergen, encountered Waterloo in marketing, allowing domestic entrepreneurs to see the difficulty of selecting products. Observing companies with the ability of domestic research and development, they will find that their selection has been homogeneous.

Zhang Zhigan, the founder of State Bio, believes that the difficulty of R & D is relatively limited from industrialized production. Several high -value materials will be repeatedly considered by the head synthetic biological company. Essence The company led by the IDG chose to enter the raw material market last year. Because its strain library and component library are suitable for implementing the results of the laboratory into industrial production, it has attracted many college scientists to cooperate with it.

As the market is early, VC is also in the exploration stage. According to interface news, most of the current medical -themed venture capital funds have not set up a group specializing in synthetic creatures.

The field of medical and health and consumer goods dominates the downstream market applications of most of the synthetic creatures. Outstanding investors transformed from these two fields take the inherent framework of the project in the past, but understanding that synthetic creatures are not adapted.

Hao Yang, vice president of Huaxing Capital Hao Yang, transferred the head VC to the investors who see the synthetic creatures into two categories. One is the previous medical investors. And the progress of the product pipeline; one is consumer investors, looking at the production method of synthetic creatures from the direction of the consumer supply chain, and pay more attention to whether the market space and scenes of the product are determined. As a future -oriented method of production, synthetic creatures have the potential to create a new market, and some companies that explore the product incremental market with their own advantages are also worth investing.

Since it was previously active in the laboratory technology, synthetic creatures are the tracks of scientists sitting in, but many scientists in colleges and universities are not explained.

It is very difficult for investors to find a project with full combination of research and industrialization. Wu Kai, a partner of the Innovation Workshop, believes that most of the theoretical teams now hold a hammer to find nails, and lack a true understanding of modern synthetic biological applications.

In the TOP 50 synthetic biology companies released by major analysis platforms, domestic companies are repeated names. In addition to listed companies like Kaisai and Huaheng, Blue Crystal Microorganisms and Micro -Structural Workshops, Enhe Biology and Yiko Lai Bio, Boya genes belonging to upstream gene therapy tracks are regular customers. There are only 8 uniforms. Essence

At the time, the growth rate of the founder was faster than in the past, but the investment timeline of VC was compressed. Huaxing Capital Hao Yang revealed that synthetic biological companies need to build their own factories to achieve industrialization at this stage. Therefore, they need to invest in asset investment. The existing government -guided industrial funds are very friendly to synthetic biological tracks. More suitable for start -up, VC needs to complete the investment before specific nodes, and the later, the smaller the window period.

Under the pressure, investors spend money and start to become cautious. As of now, the composite biological financing incidents in 2022 have been from 12, which has increased from the same period last year but has declined than the industry expectations. A synthetic biological track entrepreneur revealed that the capital market is currently more small, and VC is very cautious about the more expensive projects. Some projects that have performed well last year will even not financing.

This is not only the issue of synthetic biological circuit. At the overall venture capital level, the data of the Qingke Research Center shows that the number and amount of domestic VC investment cases this year decreased by 27.5%and 47.1%year -on -year, respectively.

In 2021, the American synthetic biological market spent the giant stock price shock. So far, Ginkgo, who has not been able to get a representative product, has encountered short -term U.S. investment institutions that are expected to be huge. Mountain that is difficult to pass.

The domestic investment market cannot give the US investment market greatly supporting AmyRis early, but this track is not enough for Hua Heng and Kaisai. Investors hope that someone will come out of Tesla in the dark moment in 2019. But they also understand that if the production capacity cannot be released, even Tesla, it will only be killed, not dawn.

Note: 1): Drug intermediate is the most important application of synthetic biology in medical scenarios. According to "Arterial Network" statistics, there are about 5 companies engaged in interstitial development of synthetic biology medicine in China biology.

Reference: "CITIC Securities" Research Report: Synthetic creatures rose up, subverting the tradition to lead the future

Arterial Network: Why does it sucked $ 1.6 billion in half a year, why is the synthetic biology so hot?

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