Forest City SynBio Inc. (“FCSB”) partners with the Western Fair Association to build a 7,000-sf synthetic biology startup accelerator within The Grove, set to open doors in early 2022. Tapping into The Grove’s $7.2M grant from FedDev Ontario to grow London’s agriculture and food sector, FCSB supports biotechnology startups with a primary focus on agri-food innovation.
Synthetic biology (“synbio”)—the design and engineering of biological systems for useful applications—is a new industry predicted to create $4 trillion of economic impact by 2040. The fastest-growing sector within synbio is agri-food, enabling more sustainable, resilient, and scalable means of food production.
“Building our lab in The Grove was an obvious choice,” says Samir Hamadache, CEO at FCSB. “It will be a win-win for The Grove’s other tenants & the startups in our facility to work together.”
“This association has played an important role in the agri-food sector in this region for close to 150 years, and we envision an even greater role as The Grove continues to evolve,” says Reg Ash, CEO at the Western Fair Association. “The future of agri-food is our future.”
Shea Tough, COO, and Samir founded FCSB this year after serving as Vice-President & President of the volunteer initiative that the company evolved out of. They were inspired by the growing number of synbio entrepreneurs struggling to find a foothold in Canada and often leaving the country as a result.
“Forest City Syn-Bio is the type of addition envisioned when The Grove was announced in October 2019,” says Reg. “This highly specialized hub within The Grove will attract further investment in agri-food innovation while providing additional research space.”
FCSB will become the new home for up to 24 high-growth startups, directly and indirectly creating an estimated 234 jobs over the next three years. Moreover, FCSB is proud to be extending the investment opportunity to everyday people who can now buy shares in FCSB through its equity crowdfunding portal.
“Democratizing the investment opportunity is important to us,” says Shea. “Synbio has the potential to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Anyone who is passionate about supporting these solutions should be able to invest.