"In order to usher in synthetic biology and gain public approval, the initial showcased project is to develop a synthetic form of artemisinin, a molecule produced by the Wormwood plant that naturally grows in Southeast Asia. While artemisinin is a very cheap remedy for malaria, synthetic biologists claim it is still costly (estimated cost of $1 billion to supply 70% of malaria victims worldwide), so they want to make it synthetically.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has released a $42.5 million grant to produce synthetic artemisinin. But this is not true synthetic biology. They would be creating the same molecule. It’s a covert way of gaining public acceptance for things to come under the banner of synthetic biology. Furthermore, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is looking more like a non-profit front for R&D of vaccines and medicines that will eventually make billions of dollars on a worldwide scale."