The governments of China, India, and the United Kingdom are unanimous in their belief that bioinformatics should supply the link between basic life sciences research and its translation into health benefits for the population and the economy. Yet at the same time, as ambitious states vying for position in the future global bioeconomy they differ considerably in the strategies adopted in pursuit of this goal. At the heart of these differences lies the interaction between epistemic change within the scientific community itself and the apparatus of the state. Drawing on desk-based research and thirty-two interviews with scientists and policy makers in the three countries, this article analyzes the politics that shape this interaction. From this analysis emerges an understanding of the variable capacities of different kinds of states and political systems to work with science in harnessing the potential of new epistemic territories in global life sciences innovation.