We’re thrilled to announce that Ginkgo Bioworks was recently approved for a loan of up to $1.1B from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to expand our biosecurity and pandemic response platform at Ginkgo. Biotechnological platforms like Ginkgo’s can be repurposed in a biological emergency, and we have been honored to be able to contribute our technology to efforts combating the pandemic.
Back in March, we opened our platform up to do $25M of free work with companies and researchers working on the response to COVID-19. Many great partnerships came out of that initiative, including our work with Moderna to help optimize their vaccine manufacturing process, and our joint efforts with Totient to hunt for virus-neutralizing antibodies for COVID-19. We synthesized expression vectors for key viral proteins to support academic researchers and deposited them in Addgene for free distribution and used our NGS platform to do whole genome sequencing to support the Utah Department of Health in using genomics to support epidemiology.
We worked with the NIH RADx program on developing new methods for testing, invested to expand Access Bio’s New Jersey-based antigen test manufacturing facility to support more widespread rapid testing, and launched our end-to-end testing service, Concentric by Ginkgo, to do testing in non-traditional settings like schools and workplaces. We worked with the non-profit Immune Observatory to provide free base-line testing to staff at MA K-12 schools this fall. Our goal is to make testing costs low enough for weekly testing of people without symptoms, using methods like pooled testing in settings such as K-12 classrooms. Though vaccines are thankfully on the horizon, testing remains a vital tool for understanding and managing the spread of COVID-19.
Even as we pour our efforts into emerging from this crisis, we need to consider how the infrastructure and tools we are building now can grow to prevent future pandemics and keep us healthy and safe in the long-term. With support from the DFC, we will expand our platform to be part of a lasting biosecurity capability for the US. Simply put, your email inbox shouldn’t have more virus protection than you do.