Team:Arizona State E/Executive Summary


Executive Summary

The Arizona State SynBio Entrepreneurship Team (ASSET) wants to expand the synthetic biology market through use of the Community Focused Corporation. The Community Focused Corporation, or CFC, is a business model that incorporates the dynamics of both non-profit organizations and for-profit companies to create a profitable system for socially impactful projects.

In 2006, the University of Edinburgh developed a biosensor that could detect arsenic in water samples. This project would be useful in developing countries such as Bangladesh, where lack of clean water posed serious health threats to the general population. Thus, Lumen Biosensors was born. Unfortunately, this project was unable to fully enter the market due to a lack of funding. Investors are hard to find when profits are hard to generate.

That’s where the Community Focused Corporation comes in. Projects like Lumen Biosensors hold their greatest wealth in their impact on the community. They are intuitively recognized for their social worth, not necessarily their financial worth. Investors are naturally afraid of risks without tangible rewards, and given the success of industrial applications like biofuels and biopolymer manufacturing, investment into synthetic biology has become skewed.

The CFC takes advantage of a unique vertical integration strategy that cycles a portion of the profits back into the non-profit system and utilizes the remainder as a standard corporation. The socially impactful product is used for non-profit purposes and in turn, the outcomes from the product can be commercialized for the for-profit company. This allows the organization as a whole to be financially self-sustainable. In turn, the profits generated could be reappropriated for further research applications and development.