JBEI Startups

Entrepreneurial spirit is embedded in JBEI’s culture. Research programs are run with entrepreneurial fervor, commercial utility of JBEI technology is the ultimate measure of success, and JBEI researchers frequently leave to join start-ups or are instrumental in forming new companies.

Five start-up companies have spun out of JBEI to date. These are:



Afingen was founded in 2012 to develop and commercialize emerging synthetic biology technologies expected to have enormous impact on economics and environmental sustainability through new biological products and improved biological capabilities. Afingen focuses on host eukaryotic organisms (plants, fungi, and yeast) to improve yield and composition of commercially attractive products. Website: www.AFINGEN.org

Evodia.logo-thumbnail

Evodia is developing engineered microbes to convert inexpensive, renewable sugars into high-value specialty chemicals. Its platform technology will provide novel biosynthetic routes to compounds with established markets, and can be extended to produce novel compounds through simple genetic alterations in the host cell, all from a single inexpensive feedstock. Evodia’s technology will therefore provide “greener” routes to established and novel products while lowering production costs.


Illium Technologies produces ionic liquid solvents from lignin. The ionic liquids can be used for biomass pretreatment to produce cellulose and/or glucose for biomanufacturing. Illium was formed to commercialize JBEI technology for the synthesis of ionic liquids from lignin. Website: http://www.illiumtech.com/index.html


Lygos produces “bio-advantaged” chemicals, where petrochemistry cannot compete with biochemistry. Lygos is currently commercializing its first product, malonic acid, and its platform for synthetic biology is being exploited to develop a number of pipelined products. In 2015, Lygos was nominated by QB3 as Synthetic Biology Startup of the Year. Follow: @LygosBiotech; Website: www.lygos.com


TeselaGen Biotechnology, Inc. is developing a fully integrated solution for synthetic biology. Their DNA design and assembly platform provides the most advanced Bio CAD/CAM system available and makes genetic engineering cheaper and faster. Since 2012, TeselaGen has had an exclusive license to distribute JBEI’s j5 and Device Editor software for DNA assembly to commercial users. Website: https://www.teselagen.com/