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DARPA Holds Talks to Discuss Biotech Research Programs

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency held a series of talks in Menlo Park, California last week to discuss the biotechnology research programs of the agency’s Biological Technologies Office as well as ways to advance the commercialization of biotechnology platforms.

The two-day meeting dubbed “Biotech Startups of the Future” highlighted BTO’s research efforts in areas such as synthetic biology, gene editing, personalized medicine, infectious disease management and neurotechnology, DARPA said Monday.

BTO Director Justin Sanchez said DARPA needs the help of the academia, industry and investment community to move from biotechnology demonstration to application.

Sanchez added that investors are “hesitant” to support biotechnology development due to associated risks, which DARPA aims to address through a deeper understanding of such technologies.

DARPA-funded researchers from industry and academia showcased their research results during the meeting, including experts from Ecovative, Phylagen, Boston University and Harvard Medical School.

The meeting involved discussions on DNA programming to grow materials; predicting an individual’s potential responses to personalized gene therapy; and the use of technology to detect and mitigate pandemic outbreaks, among other topics.

BTO plans to hold similar meetings in other locations across U.S.

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