DARPA has recently begun to embrace the biotechnology world with projects in a number of cutting-edge scientific areas, including synthetic biology, with funding trends sky-rocketing to close to $1 billion invested over the past five years.
Consider ADEPT, or Autonomous Diagnostics to Enable Prevention and Therapeutics. Outbreaks of viruses like Ebola, as reported by IndustryTap in several articles including Ebolabot, Experimental Ebola Drug, and “An Off Switch for the Ebola Virus,” can kill many people quickly and lead to serious negative economic impacts in a short period of time.
ADEPT seeks to “enable adaptable, diagnostic devices that decrease the time required to design, manufacture, and rapidly distribute test panels in response to evolving or emerging diagnostic needs.” This allows the Department of Defense (DoD) to use diagnostics to do self-testing in limited resource areas, including battlefields and at point-of-care clinical settings around the world.
A September 2015 report “U.S. Trends in Synthetic Biology Research Funding” provides additional details.