Biotechnology Ideas for a Small Business

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Biotechnology dispatches molecules and cells to create new products and new ways of manufacturing. The goods, devices and methods your business considers can deliver biotechnology's promise of an increased food supply, promoting health, environmental protection and preservation of natural resources. The Biotechnology Industry Organization warns, though, that the typical biotechnical product doesn't reap revenues for at least three years -- especially considering the time spent on research, trials and obtaining any necessary regulatory approvals.

Lab technicians looking at a microscope.
Lab technicians looking at a microscope. (Image: shironosov/iStock/Getty Images)

Plastics That Decompose

Biodegradable plastics may be developed from organic matter such as corn or non-castor plants. Plastic cups, plates and utensils made from organic materials can be composted along with food waste. According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the use of biodegradable plastics could cut the amount of plastics in the waste stream by 80 percent.

Plastic cups, plates and utensils.
Plastic cups, plates and utensils. (Image: serezniy/iStock/Getty Images)

Plants From a Glass

You can use genes and fragments from plants to breed new plants for nurseries and growers. Washington State University reports on a company's propogation method that can yield 250,000 plants from a single plant. Traditional techniques produce only 10 plants in the same time. Genetically engineered plants develop and get to market in less time and require less soil, water and pesticide than those started in the ground. As reported in the White House's National Bioeconomy Blueprint, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that genetically modified plants generated $76 billion in sales in 2010.

A woman shopping for plants in a nursery.
A woman shopping for plants in a nursery. (Image: John Lund/Marc Romanelli/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Biofuels

Your business can turn organic plants, including corn, canola, pine and kudzu, into biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. The U..S. government's Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets volume requirements, drives biofuel demand. According to Environmental Entrepreneurs, biofuel production capacity reached 1 billion gallons of gasoline equivalent in 2013. By 2015, the advanced biofuel industry was expected to reach production capacity of 1.4 billion to 1.6 billion gallons of gasoline equivalent.

Field of canola.
Field of canola. (Image: Matthew Dixon/iStock/Getty Images)

Pharmaceuticals

Biological processes create drugs and health products such as vitamins. According to Michigan State University's Broad College of Business, the pharmaceutical industry has experienced a trend in small biotech businesses merging their research focus with the resources of larger companies. The synergy helps small start-up companies hasten the introduction of drugs to market. Broad College of Business says drug spending will increase three-fold from 2000 to 2050, with the drug industry reaching a value of $1.6 trillion by 2020.

Senior woman putting pills in her hand.
Senior woman putting pills in her hand. (Image: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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