The Edge

These former SpaceX engineers are helping scientists find cures for genetic diseases

Key Points
  • Synthego wants to help scientists use tools like CRISPR to edit the genetic code.
  • They say CRISPR is a biological breakthrough that will help scientists find cures for common genetic diseases.
  • Synthego's founders are ex-SpaceX, the private space company founded by Elon Musk.
This start-up is working to make gene editing as easy as coding

Biology is undergoing a huge shift, as researchers now have a new tool to alter our genetic code.

Advances in a technology called CRISPR -- which stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats -- give scientists something like a pair of "scissors," so they can snip away at genetic material with the goal of treating disease, growing new crops and more.

Two former SpaceX engineers, Paul and Michael Dabrowski, saw an opportunity that can't be missed. Neither brother has a background in genetics, but they saw an opportunity to use software to help scientists automate their research.

"As a field, CRISPR and genome engineering is very early on, "Synthego's Paul Dabrowski told us.

"This, as a computer engineer, is like being, say, in the 1970's with computers, where everyone had mainframes and there were very few computer users."

CNBC sat down with the Dabrowskis to discuss how their start-up, known as Synthego, makes it easier for scientists to use tools like CRISPR to find cures for diseases in the next decade. Here's what they had to say.