Agreement to Share Bioengineering Resources Accelerates Research

Achievement date: 

In 2014, the BioBricks™ Foundation (BBF) and Addgene, a non-profit plasmid repository, negotiated an agreement to contribute biological parts to the public domain for use by bioengineering researchers under a BioBricks™ Public Agreement (BPA). This advance is supported[JT1]  by researchers with the NSF-funded Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc), which is headquartered at the University of California (UC) Berkeley.

 [JT1]Court, I could not find a direct connection to Synberc…searched high and low. Guess you need to be an innie…


The BBF’s mission is to ensure that the engineering of biology is conducted in an open and ethical manner to benefit all people and the planet. The BPA is a free-to-use legal tool developed by BBF that allows individuals, companies, and institutions to use material in its repository. By executing a BPA, Addgene is donating basic bioengineering knowledge to the public domain to help accelerate innovation, collapse timelines, and speed time-to-market of inventive bioengineering solutions to world problems while fostering ethical use of technology.


Addgene is dedicated to making it easier for scientists to share plasmids; BBF is a registry of biological parts developed with a view to helping researchers build biological systems in living cells. The BBF enjoys a close partnership with Synberc, which has matters of practice as one of its top four priorities, including developing policies, procedures, and ways of thinking about ethical, legal, and social issues—as well as safety and security—of synthetic biology research and its outcomes. In this vein, the BPA was developed by the BBF to clarify the terms of use for BioBrick™ parts.

The BPA is part of a larger effort in the synthetic biology community to consider intellectual property and standards-setting, which will be vital to the success of synthetic biology. BBF’s legal program is working toward standards-setting with institutions, firms, governments, and individuals engaged in the field of synthetic biology. Numerous standards have been proposed, including those relevant to structure, function, description, measurement, data, information exchange, software, biosafety and biosecurity, and even law.