Twist Bioscience has radically reduced the cost of working with DNA by retooling the technology used to synthesize it. This innovation could help lead to huge advances across a number of different applications. The research and testing carried out by Twist’s customers range from vaccine development to improving agricultural crop yield. There is even the possibility of using DNA as a data-storage medium because of its affordability and durability. Microsoft has purchased millions of DNA strands from Twist in a project with the University of Washington to research the theory.
Co-founder and CEO Emily Leproust says that in 2016 the company shipped about 30,000 genes, a number that’s already been eclipsed by the first quarter of 2017. Among Twist’s customers is Ginkgo Bioworks (another finalist on Inc.’s Disruptive list), which in 2016 placed the largest order of synthetic DNA in history, according to Twist.