Introducing: Bioworks7 Mammalian Screening at Scale

Our newest foundry increases our capacity to serve customers in biopharmaceuticals, biomanufacturing, and general mammalian programming for therapeutic applications

Today, we’re announcing the opening of Bioworks7, the latest expansion of our biological engineering foundry. With this new space, we’re increasing our capacity and capabilities to serve our partners in the spaces of cell and gene therapy, biomanufacturing and general mammalian programming for therapeutic applications and new biopharmaceutical modalities.

Ginkgo’s foundry automates and scales the process of organism engineering, allowing engineers to prototype thousands of biological designs. Our evolving platform equips companies and labs from startups to large pharmaceutical companies with access to robust technology, without the need for them to invest in costly lab and R&D infrastructure in-house, and aims to drive down the cost per biological design.

“Following our initial efforts in Bioworks4 in 2019, and expansion to our Cambridge facility, Ginkgo has created a strong foundation for culturing, engineering, and interrogating a variety of primary cells and cell lines to support both discovery and manufacturing efforts for cell and gene therapy, RNA therapeutics, and biologics including antibody and enzyme-based therapies,” said Narendra Maheshri, Head of Mammalian Foundry at Ginkgo Bioworks. “With Bioworks7, Ginkgo is able to further scale this work with dedicated capabilities for stem cell engineering, centralized mammalian cell operations services, and expanded capabilities in existing areas.”

This expansion of our R&D space will enable us to serve more strategic partners in applications across therapeutics and biomanufacturing.

In addition to the new foundry space, Ginkgo has also added expertise across our biopharma team, including the appointment of Dr. Behzad Mahdavi, senior vice president of biopharma manufacturing & life science tools. Ginkgo’s existing work in the biopharma space – such as partnerships with Aldevron, Biogen, Microba, Moderna, Novo Nordisk, Optimvia, Persephone, SaponiQx, Selecta Biosciences, Synlogic, Tantu, Totient, and Merck – span many therapeutic areas and approaches and contribute to the company’s growing expertise and Codebase. In addition, Ginkgo recently acquired Circularis, a biotechnology company with a proprietary circular RNA and promoter screening platform, to enable new solutions across bioproduction, RNA therapeutics, cell therapy, and gene therapy partnerships.

Since the opening of Bioworks4 when we formally kicked off our work in the mammalian space, we’ve experienced significant growth, creating new opportunities for us to advance our capabilities and contribute to our valued pharma partners. As the synthetic biology ecosystem rapidly evolves and the urgent need for biopharma options increases against the backdrop of the pandemic, we’re energized to expand our foundry to bring new capabilities to service the biopharma industry. With today’s opening, we look forward to enabling our partners to program mammalian cells at scale for more effective biomanufacturing workflows and new and improved biopharma products.

The Bioworks7 facility comprises 6,600 square feet of Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) lab space at Ginkgo’s headquarters in Boston’s Seaport District. It is co-located with Bioworks4, Ginkgo’s other mammalian foundry space, allowing for synergy with existing spaces within our headquarters. Notably, Bioworks7 houses a dedicated space for induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) work and advanced robotics to further scale and automate a variety of mammalian workflows.

By investing in the expansion of our mammalian foundry platform, Ginkgo expects to provide significant runway to support new programs in the pharmaceutical and biotech vertical.

Bioworks7 and Ginkgo’s advancement in the biopharma industry comes on the heels of our announcement of our foundry-enabled methods for large-scale, pooled combinatorial library screening of CAR domains for improved persistence. As our platform evolves to spearhead monumental work in the biopharma space, Ginkgo is equipping companies with the tools they need to innovate and shape therapeutics.

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Ginkgo Acquires Zymergen

Ginkgo completes acquisition of Zymergen

Today, we’re pleased to announce our completed acquisition of Zymergen.

This is our largest acquisition to date! It’s expected to significantly enhance our platform by integrating strong automation and software capabilities as well as providing a wealth of experience across diverse biological engineering approaches.

It marks an important step in our long term growth, and we’re thrilled to welcome Zymergen’s world-class team to Ginkgo. We are excited to integrate Zymergen’s capabilities into our platform and explore new and expanded partnerships and opportunities for their diverse array of product concepts currently under development.

Under the terms of the merger agreement entered into on July 24, 2022, Zymergen stockholders received, for each share of Zymergen common stock, 0.9179 shares of Ginkgo Class A common stock. Zymergen shares will no longer be traded on Nasdaq. GinkgoClass A common stock will continue to trade on NYSE under the ticker symbol DNA.

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Forward Looking Statements

This blog post contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. You can generally identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “explore,” “evaluate,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” or “will,” or the negative thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology. These forward-looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Ginkgo’s and Zymergen’s control. Statements in this blog post that are forward-looking, including the expected benefits of Ginkgo’s acquisition of Zymergen, are based on management’s current estimates, assumptions and projections, and are subject to significant uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond Ginkgo’s and Zymergen’s control. These factors include, among other things, general economic and business conditions; changes in global, political, economic, business, competitive, market and regulatory forces; judicial decisions; changes in tax laws, regulations, rates and policies; future business acquisitions or disposals; litigation and the ability of the combined company to protect its intellectual property rights; and the timing and occurrence (or non-occurrence) of other events or circumstances that may be beyond Ginkgo’s and Zymergen’s control. Additional information concerning these risks, uncertainties and assumptions can be found in Ginkgo’s and Zymergen’s respective filings with the SEC, including the risk factors discussed in Ginkgo’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as updated by its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, in Zymergen’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as updated by its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and in Ginkgo’s future filings with the SEC.  Important risk factors could cause actual future results and other future events to differ materially from those currently estimated by management, including, but not limited to, the risks that: Ginkgo is unable to achieve the synergies and value creation contemplated by the acquisition; Ginkgo is unable to promptly and effectively integrate Zymergen’s businesses, including retention of key personnel; Ginkgo management’s time and attention is diverted on transaction related issues; disruption from the transaction makes it more difficult to maintain business, contractual and operational relationships; or adverse developments or outcomes of legal proceedings that are pending or instituted against Zymergen, Ginkgo or the combined company. No assurances can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur, or if any of them do occur, what impact they will have on the results of operations, financial condition or cash flows of Zymergen or Ginkgo. Should any risks and uncertainties develop into actual events, these developments could have a material adverse effect on Ginkgo’s ability to realize the expected benefits from the acquisition. You are cautioned not to rely on Ginkgo’s and Zymergen’s forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are applicable only as of the date of such statements. Neither Zymergen nor Ginkgo assumes any duty to update or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, as of any future date.

Ginkgo Expands Agricultural Biologicals Division, Closes Deal with Bayer

Today, Ginkgo closed our deal with Bayer, expanding our ag biologics division.

As a result of the close:

  • The nitrogen fixation and R&D platform assets of Joyn Bio are now integrated into Ginkgo.
  • Bayer’s West Sacramento Biologics Research & Development site and platform is now a part of Ginkgo’s ag biologics division.
  • Ginkgo becomes a multi-year strategic partner with Bayer to develop biological solutions in areas such as nitrogen optimization, carbon sequestration, and next generation crop protection.
  • Bayer will continue work to optimize Joyn Bio’s nitrogen fixation technology, aiming to complement synthetic fertilizers going forward.

Today we’re pleased to announce the beginning of our multi-year strategic partnership with Bayer to accelerate research and development of biological products for agriculture. The transaction includes the divestment of Bayer’s West Sacramento Biologics Research & Development site and its internal discovery and lead optimization platform; these assets are now integrated into Ginkgo.

Through this deal, the nitrogen fixation and R&D platform assets of Joyn Bio—the joint venture created by Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks in 2017—will be fully integrated into Ginkgo. This will enable the continued advancement of Joyn Bio’s innovative nitrogen fixation platform. As part of the agreement, Bayer retains the right to commercialize the technology to complement synthetic fertilizer use in the coming years.

Sustainable, climate-smart and innovative agricultural solutions

Bayer is now the first major partner of Ginkgo Bioworks’ expanded agricultural biologicals platform. The new collaboration will be focused on important programs in the areas of crop protection, nitrogen fixation, and carbon sequestration to identify next generation biologicals that provide clear benefits to growers.

“Biological solutions play a critical role in the agricultural innovation ecosystem, and we see tremendous opportunity for these products to add even more value for agriculture in the future,” said Dr. Robert Reiter, Head of R&D at Bayer’s Crop Science Division. “[Bayer’s] open innovation approach will accelerate the product pipeline and will make sure that we bring high-quality biological solutions and innovative technologies to the market faster.”

Microbial derived products for agriculture

Here at Ginkgo, we’re committed to harnessing the power of programmable biology to enable sustainable food production and food security worldwide. We aim to develop and advance agricultural microbial solutions across crops and geographies through broad, fully-enabled technical platforms that address diverse market needs. We will work independently with different partners in the discovery of microbial derived products for agriculture.

We look forward to partnering with Bayer and other innovative companies to bring more applications on to Ginkgo’s expanded agricultural biologicals platform so that growers worldwide can develop breakthrough products.

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

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

This blog post contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding Ginkgo’s expectations regarding its ability to expand its platform capabilities in agricultural biologicals through the transaction and the expected outcomes and benefits of the transaction. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties as described in the “Risk Factors” section of Ginkgo’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on August 15, 2022 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. Actual events and results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements.

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.

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Exciting M&A Update: Scaling our Platform Capabilities

Our mission is to make biology easier to engineer. At Ginkgo, we’ve always strived to bring the best technologies—including biological tools, automation, and software—together onto one platform to better serve our customers. 

Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve signed definitive agreements to acquire two teams and technologies that will help us achieve this important mission, one from Bayer and Joyn that builds our vertical capabilities in agricultural biologicals and the other, Zymergen, that brings in-house core hardware and software to accelerate our horizontal Foundry capabilities.

We are building this platform for our customers, who come to us with their biological design challenges and product ideas. We reiterate this point a lot, because it is unusual in the biotech industry: we aren’t interested in building our own products, we’re interested in building a platform that will allow the rest of the world to deploy biology as a solution for our hardest challenges, from food security to pandemic response, from supply chain resilience to climate change.

We previously announced our plans for this agreement with Bayer, to acquire Bayer’s 175,000-square-foot West Sacramento Biologics Research & Development facility, team, and internal discovery and lead optimization platform, as well as integrate the R&D platform assets from Joyn Bio, our joint-venture with Leaps by Bayer formed in 2017. 

We share a common vision with the teams at Joyn and Bayer that will be joining our team to develop and deploy the best that biology has to offer in agriculture. To ensure sustainable food security for an ever growing population, we need to invest in biological solutions and work with the best teams around the world to bring these solutions to market. We are excited to be able to make this platform accessible to innovative companies and teams who may otherwise not have the resources or expertise to develop these capabilities in house. We look forward to engaging with other customers in supporting the development of their agricultural biological programs in addition to Bayer on our new agriculture biologics platform.

We also share a common vision with Zymergen—that biology can transform a wide range of industries including manufacturing, agriculture, and medicine. Through the transaction announced today and expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, we plan to integrate Zymergen’s core automation and software technologies for scaling strain engineering capacity into our Foundry, including Zymergen’s machine learning and data science tools for exploring known and unknown genetic design space. 

We expect this acquisition to significantly enhance the strength of our platform to better serve our customers, both through the expansion of our Codebase of biological assets and the automation, software, and data tools of our Foundry. We will as always remain a horizontal platform, enabling customers across industries rather than producing our own products, and will support Zymergen’s plans to evaluate strategic alternatives for their Advanced Materials and Drug Discovery businesses. 

We have always had incredible respect for the Zymergen team and the strength of the technologies that they have built for cell programming. We are beyond thrilled to integrate Zymergen’s capabilities into our Foundry, which we expect to accelerate the growth of our platform as we continue to deliver on our mission to make biology easier to engineer for our customers, helping us drive down the costs of cell programming as we invest in scale. We can’t wait to welcome Zymergen technical teams, who will support our scaling objectives.

We’re so excited to work with the amazing teams from Bayer, Joyn, and Zymergen to continue to grow our offerings and our capabilities to support the essential work happening across industries to grow the bioeconomy. See key legal info here and read more about these exciting transactions in our press releases today on Bayer and Zymergen, or watch the recording of our conference call this morning here.

Ginkgo Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Report

Today, we are happy to share Ginkgo’s inaugural sustainability report, Caring at Ginkgo.

At Ginkgo, we believe our platform can play an important role in addressing some of the major societal and environmental challenges that we face today.

Further “caring how our platform is used” has always been a key lens through which we consider the choices we make as we grow our business, and, since 2020, has been an explicit part of our company-wide goal-setting framework. When we went public last year, we declared that “ESG is in our DNA.”

Accordingly, over the past year, the Ginkgo ESG Working Group has worked across the Ginkgo ecosystem and with key external stakeholders to produce this first report and to position ourselves for routine reporting moving forward.

Our inaugural sustainability report is organized across three themes:

  • The Impact of Cell Programming (“Environmental”)
  • Technology Isn’t Neutral (“Social”)
  • Ownership Is the First Step in Caring (“Governance”)

Read the full report here.

We all know that today’s ‘ESG’ reporting systems are far from perfect. Nonetheless, we are proud to have built out a first-class team that has strived to maintain an authentic, “first principles” approach to ESG reporting. Our inaugural report is guided by key ESG frameworks and standards (e.g., the Global Reporting Initiative and Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics), as well as a third-party led materiality assessment.

We look forward to sharing our progress and continuing the conversation about the impacts and implications of synthetic biology.

If you have comments on our report, or if you would like to chat more, please email [email protected]. In the meantime, thank you for being a part of this ongoing conversation, because a future where we can grow everything requires care, transparency, and many voices.

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Expanding Our Platform Capabilities in Agricultural Biologicals and Launching Flagship Partnership with Bayer

Announcement Highlights:

  • Planned transaction expands Ginkgo’s horizontal platform capabilities to support agricultural biologicals R&D from discovery through formulation and early field trials and will offer services to allow access to customers of all sizes in the agriculture industry
  • Under the proposed transaction, Ginkgo to acquire Bayer’s West Sacramento agricultural biologicals site and team, adding a 175,000 square-foot R&D facility with pilot scale fermentation, formulation, and greenhouse facilities, along with access to Bayer’s large agricultural strain collection
  • Joyn Bio, the joint-venture between Ginkgo and Leaps by Bayer formed in 2017, to be integrated into the parent companies, with the core technology platform becoming part of Ginkgo’s platform and key products being advanced by Bayer in a new collaboration
  • Bayer to be an anchor customer of Ginkgo’s agricultural biologicals offering, signing a follow-on multi-year platform collaboration deal to enable continued development of Joyn Bio’s flagship nitrogen fixation program and launching new programs in fields including next-generation crop protection and carbon sequestration

We’re excited to announce plans to significantly expand our platform capabilities in agricultural biologicals from discovery to field. These capabilities will be built through a series of transactions; Ginkgo will acquire Bayer’s 175,000 square-foot West Sacramento Biologics Research & Development site, team, and internal discovery and lead optimization platform. Ginkgo will also integrate the R&D platform assets from Joyn Bio, a joint-venture between Ginkgo and Leaps by Bayer formed in 2017. Bayer will be the anchor agricultural customer of Ginkgo’s expanded platform, entering into a significant new multi-year collaboration which will focus on the advancement of Joyn’s marquee nitrogen fixation program as well as new programs in areas such as crop protection and carbon sequestration.

While Ginkgo will continue to evaluate the operating expenditures required to launch and scale its expanded agricultural capabilities following these transactions, it is expected that the cash proceeds from this multi-year collaboration with Bayer may significantly offset such anticipated expenditures. The proposed transactions are projected to close before the end of 2022, pending the finalization of definitive agreements and subject to regulatory approvals.

Agricultural biologicals are a rapidly growing category of solutions that offer tremendous sustainability and performance benefits. Against the backdrop of rising fertilizer costs and novel pest and disease threats, growers are calling for new agriculture solutions that can increase yields while decreasing their environmental footprint. While chemical and plant trait solutions have long been the dominant solutions on the market, demand for biologicals has increased dramatically.

Bayer, Ginkgo, and Joyn share a common vision, which is to enable biological products to be a critical part of the solution to the world’s greatest agricultural and environmental challenges. We are incredibly impressed by the success of the Joyn team and the deep expertise of Bayer’s West Sacramento R&D team and are thrilled to have them join Ginkgo as we build deep end-to-end capabilities in ag biologicals on top of our large scale horizontal platform. We believe we’re bringing together the most innovative minds in agriculture with the experience of a team that has brought several effective biological products to market for Bayer — opening this platform up to the world has the potential to truly revolutionize the field.

Bayer has long been committed to expanding its product offerings to benefit growers around the world. In recent years, the company has made a strategic decision to focus on becoming the preferred research, development, and commercial partner in the biologicals segment, while leveraging an “open innovation” model to be able to partner broadly with disruptive discovery companies.

Through this agreement, Bayer is committing to a significant multi-year collaboration, advancing multiple programs including a marquee nitrogen fixation program as well as a suite of other programs in areas such as next-generation crop protection and carbon sequestration.

“Biological solutions will play a critical role in the agricultural innovation ecosystem, and we see tremendous opportunity for biologicals to add even more value for agriculture in the future because they are effective and offer environmental benefits that producers want,” said Bob Reiter, Head of R&D for Bayer Crop Science. “Bayer is moving to strengthen its product development and commercial positioning through strategic research partnerships for new product development, and we are excited to deepen our relationship with Ginkgo, which we expect to be a key partner for many years to come.”

Over the last five years, Joyn has developed a new class of microbial solutions in partnership with Bayer and Ginkgo. Through this transaction, Joyn’s product concepts will be advanced by Bayer, with a particular focus on its nitrogen fixation program, while the platform assets and supporting team members will be integrated into Ginkgo as the company expands its support for agricultural biologicals.

Ginkgo will offer these new platform capabilities to a wide variety of customers in the agriculture space.

Ginkgo expects to provide a full stack of services in this field. This extension of our platform will allow companies of all sizes to access best-in-class lab-to-field translation expertise, greenhouse capacity, formulation capabilities, and pilot fermentation.

“With support from Ginkgo and Bayer, Joyn Bio has made groundbreaking discoveries across a number of programs that will be foundational for future work in biologicals,” said Michael Miille, CEO of Joyn Bio. “We are excited to take this platform to the next stage, with Bayer advancing key programs to the next level and working with Ginkgo to open our capabilities up to a broader set of commercial partners.”

The parties expect to sign a definitive agreement and proceed toward an efficient close, supported by ongoing integration planning efforts. More details and updates will be provided when available.

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

New Platform Venture: Launching BiomEdit

BiomEdit intends to leverage Ginkgo’s platform to discover and develop microbiome-based animal health products to improve animal health, animal protein production, and livestock disease monitoring.

We’re excited to announce the launch of BiomEdit, a microbiome innovation company that is expected to discover, develop, and introduce novel probiotics, bioactive molecules, engineered microbial medicines and microbial monitoring services for animal health.

Microbiome science is a rapidly growing field creating breakthroughs in animal health based on the microbial communities that live in animals and their surrounding environment. BiomEdit intends to discover, develop and introduce differentiated products that address some of the greatest needs for innovation in animal health, including medicated feed ingredients, nutritional health and therapeutics for livestock and pet species, as well as biosecurity technology for animal disease monitoring.

BiomEdit is Ginkgo’s latest platform venture, created in partnership with Elanco Animal Health — a leading global animal health company.

In October 2021, Elanco announced its intention to carve out its microbiome platform and pipeline under the leadership of Aaron Schacht, BiomEdit CEO and former Elanco executive vice president of Innovation, Regulatory and Business Development, to concentrate and focus more resources on its high value late-stage Pet Health pipeline. BiomEdit is the result of this separation, and was developed with Ferment Co., the company creation studio that helps ideate and launch new companies across a variety of end-markets that use cell programming to support human and environmental health and well-being.

Elanco will contribute intellectual property and a pipeline of ongoing programs to BiomEdit, which will be staffed with members of the former Elanco microbiome R&D team. The team brings the expertise and experience needed to build on the foundation of microbiome work started at Elanco. By leveraging foundational programs from Elanco, intellectual property from both Elanco and Ginkgo, and an experienced team, BiomEdit should be well positioned as a stand-alone company to develop and launch innovative products to address unmet needs in animal health.

“Livestock producers and veterinarians are calling for new products that address antibiotic resistance and improve livestock sustainability,” said Mr. Schacht. “Coupling the platform, pipeline and deep expertise of the former Elanco microbiome team with Ginkgo’s unique screening and strain engineering capabilities will accelerate and amplify our ability to advance novel animal microbiome inspired products for animal health.”

“Elanco is excited to continue its participation in the microbiome by partnering with Ginkgo, Viking Global Investors and Anterra Capital to create the next-generation animal health innovation player,” said Jeff Simmons, president and CEO of Elanco Animal Health. “We wish Aaron and his team the best as they build out this novel innovation platform to address unmet needs in animal health, such as alternatives to antibiotics.”

Ginkgo has significant expertise in the discovery, design and monitoring of microbes at scale for a wide array of functions.

BiomEdit plans to leverage Ginkgo’s state-of-the-art cell programming platform to improve the design and development of probiotics, bioactives, engineered microbial medicines, and microbial monitoring services. BiomEdit joins other Ginkgo platform ventures such as Joyn Bio, Motif FoodWorks, Allonnia, Arcaea, Verb Biotics and Ayana Bio.

We are always on the lookout for opportunities to accelerate our partners’ abilities to address massive challenges, such as antibiotic resistance in livestock. Together, we see Ginkgo and BiomEdit addressing significant opportunities in the animal health industry with new breakthroughs based on microbiome science. We deeply depend on the health of animals in our ecosystem and supply chains; the potential applications for our cell programming platform in this area are far reaching.

In addition to the assets and intellectual property contributed by Elanco and Ginkgo, BiomEdit is launching with a targeted Series A funding raise of $40 million, with participation by Viking Global Investors and Anterra Capital. In exchange for their respective asset and intellectual property contributions, Elanco and Ginkgo are expected to retain approximately 40% combined proportional ownership of BiomEdit, on a fully-diluted basis, upon the completion of the Series A financing. Elanco’s ownership will be in non-voting shares.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted on behalf of Elanco as sole placement agent on the financing.

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

Ginkgo Acquires FGen

Ginkgo acquires FGen and its ultra-high-throughput screening platform for strain development and optimization.

Ginkgo is excited to announce the acquisition of FGen AG (“FGen”), a Swiss company specializing in strain development and optimization. FGen has developed an ultra-high-throughput (uHT) screening platform built on nanoliter reactor technology. We believe that FGen’s technology will significantly enhance Ginkgo’s cell screening capabilities and enable Ginkgo to explore wider expanses of genetic design space, increasing the likelihood of finding enzymes, pathways, and strains or cell lines that meet the product specifications of our diverse customer base.

Ginkgo continues to invest in creating the premier horizontal platform for cell programming.

Ginkgo and FGen plan to close the transaction promptly. We expect that the integration of FGen’s platform will greatly increase the capacity of Ginkgo’s Design-Build-Test-Learn strain development engine, a foundation of our technology stack. By adding this new uHT screening platform to our its existing HT screening systems, we aim to be able to routinely analyze the performance of millions of pooled genetic prototypes. Our goal is to improve the quality of genetic designs that feed into our downstream workflows for strain characterization and validation. FGen’s platform is extremely flexible across organisms, pathways, and target products. The platform can be deployed to screen for both intracellular and secreted target products as well as both small molecules and proteins.

The uHT screening platform can accommodate diverse organisms including bacteria, yeast, filamentous species, and mammalian cells — all cell types that we use extensively at Ginkgo.

We’re committed to creating the premier cell programming platform by investing in and integrating best-in-class tools from around the world and deploying them broadly across our programs. We’ve worked with the FGen team for several years and believe their technology and world-class scientists will allow us to further improve our ability to explore an exponentially wider design space and deliver more value for our customers.

“Our team has spent the last decade building one of the most advanced screening platforms in the world in the hopes of enabling breakthrough discoveries and products across industries,” said Andreas Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of FGen. “We are excited to be welcomed onto the Ginkgo platform where we can deploy this technology much more broadly and better support customers and their world-changing work.”

Under the terms of the transaction, FGen will receive upfront payment and additional contingent consideration related to, among other things, the successful integration and deployment of the FGen technology across Ginkgo programs.

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

And visit FGen’s website to check out an art gallery showcasing their work. Here’s two selected pieces:

Five nanoliter reactor spheres, each reactor with filamentous fungi growing inside. The cell walls are stained blue, maing the entire image glow with a blue tint.
Filamentous fungi with fluorescent stained cell walls grown in nanoliter reactors. Credit: FGen
Two nanoliter reactors, each containing many bacteria. The bacteria are expressing a green pigment, illuminating the two reactors with a green tint. There is a scale bar that reads 20 micrometers.
Small nanoliter reactors with multiplicity of GFP-synthesizing bacterial cells. Credit: FGen

New Platform Venture: Arcaea

The products we traditionally use for personal hygiene and beauty can have large ecological impacts. Many of them use chemicals that are byproducts of fossil fuels or harvest ingredients from threatened or endangered ecosystems. What if we could grow the things that make us feel clean and beautiful, sustainably? Beyond environmental concerns, synthetic biology promises the possibility of products with new functions and a vision of nurturing our personal hygiene and redefining our sense of beauty.

Arcaea, LLC (Ar-kay-uh), incubated on the Ginkgo platform and formed under the name Kalo Ingredients LLC, was launched with the mission to build a new foundation for the beauty industry through expressive biology. The company sees biology as a valuable creative tool for self expression and aims to grow new ingredients and product experiences for beauty through the tools of the synthetic biology ecosystem fostered on the Ginkgo platform. By culturing industry-leading, safe, and sustainable ingredients, Arcaea intends to create a new supply chain for the industry that does not rely on petrochemicals or on harvesting and dwindling natural resources.

By harnessing the power of biology, Arcaea is poised to produce highly sustainable products that can deliver new functionality and performance across skincare, bodycare, haircare, and aesthetics.

The company will be led by Jasmina Aganovic, a chemical and biological engineering graduate from MIT. She brings more than a decade of industry experience translating innovation in beauty through brands and products at various beauty companies, including Fresh and Living Proof and the innovative microbiome beauty company Mother Dirt, which changed the way we think about clean and healthy skin. Jasmina saw the powerful role that biology can play in the cosmetics industry, which prompted her interest in creating tools to better realize its potential. She joined Ginkgo as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, where she spent the last two years building the foundation for Arcaea.

“Through Arcaea, we see biology as a creative tool that will drive the next generation of products and innovation. We can now access many more molecules on earth ethically and sustainably, and therefore can unlock unlimited and previously unimagined possibilities for beauty,” said Aganovic. “By bringing together new advances in technology with designers, brand builders, and leaders from every point of the supply chain, we can spark a change across the entire ecosystem to create an industry that is reflective of the future we want to see for the industry.”

Arcaea has raised $78 million in Series A funding from a consortium of strategic and financial investors including Cascade Investment L.L.C., Viking Global, CHANEL, Givaudan and Wittington Ventures. This Series A financing round brings together a mix of expertise across the value chain of the industry. It will enable Arcaea to initiate multiple technical programs across key categories in beauty to develop a pipeline of ingredients and brand launches and create a world of previously unimaginable possibilities in beauty, such as: a fragrance that no one on earth has ever smelled before; proteins that can memorize hair styles; contouring through skincare and not just makeup; and biological filters that protect skin from the elements.

“One of the most impactful things we can do at Ginkgo is support entrepreneurs and help them accelerate their timelines to make incredible things happen with biology,” said Jason Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo. “We are thrilled to see Arcaea launch and begin its journey to deliver creative solutions to the beauty industry through biology.”

Read the press release here.