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2018 grant funding for genomic startups working on synthetic biology

IDT Synthetic Biology Start-up Grant Program accelerates path forward for pioneering scientists

A grant for emerging companies provides invaluable resources for synthetic biology and CRISPR research and product development. Learn if your startup qualifies and how to submit an application.

Support for emerging synthetic biology companies

Working in academia, with plans to launch a synthetic biology company within the next 2 years? Or in business for under 5 years with fewer than 50 employees? During 2018, the Synthetic Biology Division at IDT will award 2 Synthetic Biology Start-up Grants—for gene fragments, genes or CRISPR product credit (the equivalent of 100 KB for the grant winner, and 50 KB of gBlocks® Gene Fragments for the runner-up). Awards will go to US-based start-up companies working in the areas of human health, sustainable manufacturing, or humanitarian causes, such as world hunger, disease control, and sustainable farming. The IDT Synthetic Biology Start-up Grants are intended to help emerging companies that are in their earliest stages of growth.

IDT established the Synthetic Biology Start-up Grant Program to help researchers evolve their scientific ideas into impactful, real-world solutions. We also provide support and guidance for young scientists participating in the annual iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) competition. In addition, the annual IDT Sustainability Award recognizes and provides funding for innovative academic research projects that use IDT products and have the potential to make a global impact in the area of biodiversity.

The world’s leading manufacturer of nucleic acids, IDT has developed a family of high quality, novel reagents that expedite gene assembly, cloning, mutagenesis and CRISPR genome editing experiments. Among these are gBlocks® Gene Fragments, Megamer® Single-Stranded DNA Fragments, Alt-R® CRISPR enzymes, Alt-R CRISPR-Cas9 and Alt-R CRISPR-Cpf1 genome editing systems, and the Alt-R Genome Editing Detection Kit. Invaluable to many current synthetic biology and genome editing applications, these are some of the products that qualify for grant awardee product credit.

Learn more about synthetic biology at IDT, and our CRISPR genome editing products.

Winning companies will be profiled to the worldwide research community

In addition to product credit, IDT Synthetic Biology Start-up Grant recipients will be featured in a video and have a chance to present their winning project to over 110,000 scientists who subscribe to the IDT DECODED newsletter.

Are YOU eligible?

Qualifying companies must be based in the United States, and have been in business for under 5 years with fewer than 50 employees. Academics with plans to launch a synthetic biology company within the next 2 years are also eligible. 

Note: The 2018 program has concluded, but you can read about the award winners here.

2017 IDT Synthetic Biology Grant winner—Helispot

2018 will be the 2nd year that IDT awards Synthetic Biology Start-up Grants. Helispot was the first Grant Program winner. They proposed to develop novel, cost-effective assays for disease detection in parts of the world that lack resources and access to biotechnology through use of superhelicase-dependent, isothermal amplification. Their assays can be run at ambient temperature in the field without special conditions in only minutes, and provide unparalleled sensitivity.

“The IDT Synthetic Biology Grant has proven instrumental in jumpstarting Helispot's foray into the diagnostics space and fulfilling our mission of developing low-cost diagnostics aimed at low resource and point-of-care settings. This grant enabled us to use the power of synthetic biology tools to combine numerous aspects that nature perfected into our helicase enzymatic technologies. It is because of this grant and because of our partnership with IDT in this endeavor that we are able to move forward with our mission to provide life-saving diagnostics globally.” – Joshua Yang, CEO, Helispot, Inc.


Joshua Y Yang, CEO Helispot, Inc.

Published May 30, 2020
Revised/updated Feb 7, 2019