Acquiring Altar and Circularis to Strengthen Our Capabilities

Ginkgo strengthens technical capabilities through acquisitions of Altar and Circularis to provide further capabilities to customers in adaptive laboratory evolution, circular RNA, and promoter screening

We are excited to announce two new acquisitions today: Altar, a French biotechnology company that has developed a proprietary adaptive evolution platform, and Circularis, a biotechnology company with a proprietary circular RNA and promoter screening platform. Through these acquisitions, we expect to offer new solutions to customers across multiple industries and further bolster our capabilities across the full stack of biological engineering.

At Ginkgo, we are constantly searching for technologies and capabilities that will make biology easier to engineer and help our customers achieve their goals. Altar will help us achieve this mission through the integration of a fleet of its automated adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) instruments into Ginkgo’s Foundry to serve our customers in industries including the food and beverage, biofuels, biomaterials, cosmetics, animal health, and human health sectors. The Circularis platform will enhance our capabilities in circular RNA and ultra-high-throughput screening of promoters, enabling us to develop new solutions for customers across bioproduction, RNA therapeutics, cell therapy, and gene therapy applications.

Incorporating Altar’s adaptive laboratory evolution platform

We’ve come a long way in rational genome editing and high-throughput testing over the last decade. But it still often remains challenging to engineer microorganisms that meet target specifications under harsh, industrially-relevant conditions. That’s due in part to the complexity and unknowns of the underlying genetics of organisms that grow in these unfavorable conditions and settings. ALE can be a powerful approach to address this challenge.

By incorporating Altar’s ALE platform into our existing strain engineering and screening capabilities, we expect to be able to routinely engineer and identify phenotypes that meet our customers’ specifications. Selected strains from ALE will be characterized and further validated by our existing suite of test workflows. We’ve had success collaborating with Altar in the past on customer programs and are thrilled to welcome them to the team.

“As the range of programs we work on continues to expand, it is imperative that we have the best tools in rational design as well as the ability to leverage the inherent diversity and creativity that emerges from evolutionary processes,” said Nikos Reppas, our senior director of Foundry Technology. “We’re excited to welcome the Altar team to Ginkgo and look forward to integrating the Altar technology into Ginkgo’s suite of offerings so we can better serve existing and future customers.”

“We founded Altar to increase the feasibility and reduce time-to-market for bio-manufactured products,” said Simon Trancart, CEO of Altar. “We’ve been working with Ginkgo for a few years now, and are thrilled to join the Ginkgo platform as we work to accomplish our mission at an even greater scale by collectively using biology to drive innovation across industries.”

Incorporating Circularis’ proprietary circular RNA and promoter screening platform

The Circularis platform will strengthen our ability to assist customers in their cell and gene therapy development. The acquisition will improve our capability to rapidly identify novel promoters with appropriate strength and tissue-specificity designed into customer-specific delivery modalities. Leveraging Ginkgo’s ability to explore large numbers of genetic designs, these promoter libraries can be explored in combination with modified therapeutic payloads and capsids. This will provide our customer who are gene therapy developers with a solution that works across any range of cell or organism models. Similarly, the Circularis platform will give us the ability to rapidly identify context-specific promoters for cell therapy applications, such as those that modulate gene expression in the tumor microenvironment.

“Circularis has built an exceptional platform to screen gene expression regulatory elements, a need across the cell and gene therapy space,” said Narendra Maheshri, our head of Mammalian Foundry. “We are excited to leverage the strong expertise of the Circularis team to further develop circular RNA methods for therapeutic use, and can’t wait to incorporate this technology into existing and upcoming cell programs across therapeutic applications as well as more broadly.”

“Circularis was founded because we saw a need for better tools to control gene regulation in a range of species. Our team is incredibly proud of what we’ve built, and the opportunity to scale it on the Ginkgo platform means we’re a major step closer to realizing this technology’s potential,” said Mat Falkowski, Chief Executive Officer at Circularis. “We are excited to bring the power of the Ginkgo platform to both Circularis’ already existing customer base and future partners.”

Find the full press release here along with all of the latest news from the Ginkgo team.

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