Genetically engineered organisms are very useful.

Programmable and self-replicating, engineered organisms have found use across many industries, including agriculture, therapeutics, and chemistry.

Organisms can be hard to control.

Synthetic biology’s ability to grow, spread, and alter the environment presents new risks. Because billions of years of evolution have optimized lifeforms for survival, organisms engineered to have new capabilities will eventually escape their intended bounds.

Synvivia creates organisms that can be controlled with small molecules. Because we can turn these cells ON or OFF, we can control when and where they are active. Synvivia brings control to biology with the first commercially available genetically encoded biocontainment system.


Synvivia ON-OFF switches: biology controlled

Live                      Dead



Synvivia’s genetically encoded biocontainment system keeps engineered organisms under control. By engineering organisms to require specific small molecules, they will only survive when and where intended. These control and containment measures are critical as synthetic biology is used outside of the laboratory.


Environmental biocontainment of plant probiotics


Biocontainment of therapeutic organisms


Biocontainment of industrial microbes



Synvivia makes ON-OFF switches for genetically engineered organisms. These protein switches are controlled by small molecules.


By installing these switches into an organism, Synvivia creates engineered organisms that can be controlled with small molecules. We are using these ON-OFF switches to build the first commercially available genetically encoded biocontainment system.


Synvivia’s control and containment technology will allow synthetic biology to be used outside of the laboratory.


About us

Synvivia is an early-stage Synthetic Biology startup located in QB3-EBIC in Berkeley, CA. Synvivia's technology was developed at UC Berkeley with grants from the NSF and DARPA. The work was published in ACS Synthetic Biology and featured as an Editor’s Choice in Science Magazine.


Synvivia has exclusive license to IP in all fields of use. Backed by Y Combinator, the National Institutes of Health, and industrial partnership, Synvivia is building genetically encoded biocontainment technologies that will enable the widespread use of synthetic biology outside of the laboratory.



info [at] synvivia [dot] com