New England Biolabs

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New England Biolabs
Founded 1974
Founder Donald Comb
Headquarters 240 County Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938
Key people
  • James Ellard, CEO
Number of employees

New England Biolabs (NEB) produces and supplies recombinant and native enzyme reagents for the life science research,[1] as well as providing solutions supporting genome editing, synthetic biology and next-generation sequencing.[2] NEB also provides free access to research tools such as REBASE, InBASE, and Polbase.

The company[edit]

Established in 1974 by Donald Comb, as a cooperative laboratory of experienced scientists, and initially produced restriction enzymes on a commercial scale. The company then began producing solution-oriented products. It received approximately $1.7 million in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants between 2009 and 2013 for this research.[1] NEB produces 230 recombinant and 30 native restriction enzymes for genomic research, as well as nicking enzymes and DNA methylases. It pursues research in areas related to proteomics, DNA Sequencing, and drug discovery. NEB scientists also conduct basic research in Molecular Biology and Parasitology.[1]

The company has subsidiaries in Singapore, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K.[1] and distributors in South America, Australia, and other countries in Europe and Asia.[3] Its headquarters are in Ipswich, MA. Development of the current headquarters began in 2000, and was completed in 2005.[4] Donald Comb served as the company’s Chairman and CEO from the company’s founding in 1974, until 2005. In 2005, he was replaced as chief executive by James Ellard, though Comb remained Chairman. NEB employs about 350 people at its headquarters. As company policy, all scientists and some executives must work at least one day per month on the customer support telephone line, answering technical support questions about the company’s products.[1]

Sir Richard John Roberts is the company’s Chief Scientific Officer.[1][5] He shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Phillip Allen Sharp for the discovery of introns in eukaryotic DNA and the mechanism of gene-splicing.

In 2015, NEB committed to establishing a GMP manufacturing facility near its headquarters in Ipswich, Massachusetts; the aim is to be fully validated and operational by 2017.[6]


The company runs free scientific databases. REBASE, the restriction enzyme database, contains the details of commercial and research endonucleases.[7] In 2011 the company founded Polbase, an online database which provides information specifically about polymerases.[8][9] Another free NEB database is InBase, an intein database, which includes the Intein Registry and information about each intein.[7]


In 2001, NEB co-founded the marine DNA library Ocean Genome Legacy (OGLF), which according to the Boston Globe, “catalogues samples of organisms from all over the world, to be made available to scientists for research”. Though originally located on the NEB campus, OGLF relocated to the Nahant campus of Northeastern University in 2014.[8][9][10] To enable point-of-use sales of its reagents, NEB created a digital interface for enzyme-housing freezers to be used at customer storage sites, through a partnership with Ionia Corp. and The data is used by the company for both sales logistics and as a part of future enzyme research development.[11][12] It has also partnered with Harvard University on recycling and reclamation initiatives when its products and packaging come to the end of their use or lifecycle.[13] As of 2015, NEB also had a distribution agreement with VWR.[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Philippidis, Alex (15 March 2013). "New England Biolabs Looks Past Enzymes". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. 33 (6). Retrieved 8 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Staff (1 April 2015). "News: Products & Services". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (Paper). 35 (7): 8. 
  3. ^ "New England BioLabs Company Overview". Business Week. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bill Archambeault (November 27, 2000). "Firm plans $70M project on Ipswich 'great estate'". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ Michael Hickens (April 24, 2014). "The Morning Download: Tech Giants Act to Stop 'Next Heartbleed'". Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ Staff (June 12, 2015). "New England Biolabs announces plans for GMP manufacturing". Pharmaceutical Processing. 
  7. ^ a b Terence A. Brown (1998). Molecular Biology Labfax, Volume 1. Elsevier. p. 41. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Product Watch: Thermo Fisher's PikoReal System; New England Biolabs' Polbase". Genome Web. November 10, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Rodney H. Brown (November 10, 2011). "New England Biolabs establishes polymerase database Polbase". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Nigel Fenwick (April 7, 2014). "CIOs: Choose Your Digital Future". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  12. ^ Curt Woodward (May 6, 2014). "LogMeIn Acquires Ionia for $12M, Intensifying "Internet of Things" Focus". Xconomy. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ Michelle Taylor (April 8, 2014). "Collaborative Sustainability". Laboratory Equipment. Retrieved May 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]