Optimizing Cell-Free Carbon Fixation Process for Biomanufacturing with Ensovi

Today we’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with Ensovi!

Ensovi has a platform for the cell-free transformation of carbon dioxide (CO2) into Acetyl-CoA, which can then be converted into many other products, such as precursors to flavorings, supplements, pharmaceuticals or even fuels, using Ensovi’s end-to-end, cell-free biosynthesis approach.

Ensovi will leverage Ginkgo Enzyme Services to help optimize this process.

Under the terms of the agreement, we will support the discovery and development of enzymes needed to bring Ensovi’s cell-free biomanufacturing platform to market.

Companies in the chemical industry are searching for more sustainable, yet cost-competitive, manufacturing alternatives to decarbonize supply chains. The ability to use CO2 as a feedstock can enable carbon-neutral or -negative manufacturing processes with reduced feedstock costs and risks, as well as provide better alternatives for companies that have costly CO2 waste streams.

By partnering with Ginkgo to discover and design bioengineered market-ready enzymes, Ensovi anticipates being able to extend its cell-free biomanufacturing system broadly into fine and commodity chemical manufacturing.

“We believe our modular cell-free system holds powerful potential to economically transform CO2 – the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities – into so many different useful materials. Our collaboration will draw on Ginkgo’s extensive enzyme discovery and design capabilities, allowing us to accelerate our continuous process of pathway discovery and enzyme optimization to further reduce costs and expand our supported product portfolio.”

Richard Harrison, co-founder and CEO of Ensovi

Ginkgo Enzyme Services offers partners end-to-end support for the discovery, engineering, optimization, and scale-up of enzymes for diverse applications. Through the partnership, Ginkgo will leverage its suite of services, including metagenomic enzyme discovery, as well as enzyme optimization for function and stability to support Ensovi’s applications.

Ensovi’s cell-free biomanufacturing system is a pioneering solution for the chemical industry and beyond. We’re eager to leverage our synthetic biology platform and advanced enzyme discovery and development capabilities to enable Ensovi to optimize and extend the cell-free transformation of CO2 into sustainably produced products.

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Expanded Partnership To Develop Functional Chemicals with Sumitomo Chemical

Today we’re pleased to announce a new program with Sumitomo Chemical to develop functional chemicals with synthetic biology and expand upon our existing biomanufacturing partnership.

We have been collaborating with Sumitomo Chemical since 2021, leveraging our synthetic biology platform for the production of products in industries ranging from personal care and cosmetics, to agriculture and pharma. Today’s announcement marks the start of a third project with Sumitomo Chemical which aims to enable the mass production of functional chemicals via fermentation.

Partnering to develop products with a lower carbon footprint

As part of this latest project, we plan to utilize our strain design technology to develop a microbial strain and related fermentation process to produce the target molecule. Sumitomo Chemical will develop the manufacturing process and its scale-up for commercialization. By mass-producing the functional chemicals through microbial fermentation instead of traditional fossil fuel-based chemical synthesis, together we aim to provide products with a lower carbon footprint that contribute toward a carbon-neutral society.

As the rapid development of biotechnology and digital technologies continues, synthetic biology, in which organisms are genetically engineered to express desired functions, is attracting more attention in various fields. In particular, leaders in the chemical industry expect synthetic biology to have the potential to replace raw materials and create energy-saving processes, replacing the current high-temperature, high-pressure processes that use petroleum as a raw material.

“In the field of chemicals, there is an urgent need to develop products and processes with low environmental impact, and we believe that the use of synthetic biology will meet this need,” said Hiroshi Ueda, Executive Vice President of Sumitomo Chemical. “By strengthening our collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks as a partner in synthetic biology, we aim to accelerate the development of innovative technologies that could be a game changer for the chemical industry and ultimately consumers.”

Sumitomo Chemical is a valued long-term partner to Ginkgo Bioworks, and we are as excited as ever about our work together to introduce bio-based products across multiple industries. Our ongoing relationship provides an invaluable opportunity to generate continuous learning and create scalable processes that allow our partners to make more and more sustainable products through synthetic biology. We’re so proud of the fruits already borne by our unique collaboration, and we look forward to continuing to work through the pipeline of products of interest that we share with our fantastic colleagues at Sumitomo Chemical.

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Sustainable, Carbon-Negative Materials with Visolis

Improving production of bio-based isoprene with Ginkgo strain optimization services

Today we are pleased to announce our partnership with Visolis, a company combining advanced bioengineering with chemical catalysis to provide sustainable, carbon-negative materials.

With this partnership, we aim to use our extensive capabilities in strain engineering to improve upon one of Visolis’ existing microbial strains. This strain produces a key feedstock ingredient used to make bio-based isoprene and sustainable aviation fuels.

Isoprene is a key monomer used for commercial scale synthetic rubber production. Achieving the production of bio-based isoprene at scale represents a significant step toward decarbonizing tire manufacturing. Isoprene can also be used as an intermediate for high performance, lower carbon intensity sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production. Visolis’ production efforts are geared towards providing molecules with higher energy density, lower viscosity and better compatibility with engines than traditional SAF processes. Visolis’ SAF has the potential to work synergistically with these other processes to enable aviation through a 100% sustainable fuel. Through our partnership, we are working together to further optimize the efficiency of this biomanufacturing process.

“We are incredibly proud of our platform that is producing carbon-negative materials and fuels,” said Deepak Dugar, founder and CEO at Visolis. “As we strive to continue improving our technology towards commercial readiness, partnering with Ginkgo to accelerate our progress just makes sense. With their large codebase of strains and pathway expertise, which can shorten strain engineering cycles, as well as their scalable foundry capabilities, we believe we can work towards bringing our process to the next level.”

Visolis has demonstrated early success in scaling production of isoprene because of their ingenuity in combining bioengineering and chemical processing. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Visolis to optimize this innovative and sustainable process with the power of synthetic biology. This is exactly the kind of positive change that bioengineering can bring to industry.

Get in touch with the Ginkgo team today to discuss your R&D challenges!

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

High Performing Microbes for Protein Production with Cambrium

High performance protein production

Today, we are pleased to announce the successful completion of our collaboration with Cambrium, a leading German start-up focused on the application of generative AI to protein design and synthesis. Through our partnership, we combined our capabilities to enable the rapid and cost-effective design of high performing, industrially relevant microbes for protein production.

Almost 2 years ago, Cambrium and FGen, a subsidiary of Ginkgo, now known as Ginkgo’s Encapsulation and Screening team, announced a partnership to push the boundaries of data-driven metabolic engineering. Combining FGen’s expertise in microbial strain development and ultra high-throughput screening techniques with Cambrium’s Cloud Protein AI platform, the collaboration screened a vast quantity of cells to optimize their protein production.

Using our ultra high-throughput screening capabilities and nanoliter-reactor technology, we were able to generate a vast quantity of data linked to specific phenotypes to feed the machine learning algorithms. By partnering with Cambrium, we were able to design a novel concept of strain engineering.

Our collaboration allowed scientists to map experimental data to in silico models, generating strain optimization insights and enabling faster convergence towards high performance protein production. It also enabled the isolation of novel cell lines which produced enhanced levels of high-value proteins. Through the collaboration, we were able to identify non-obvious engineering targets to significantly improve strain performance. In particular, the results show that even with limited genome edits, it is possible to achieve significant increases across critical performance metrics in iterative fermentation cycles. With these advances, our partnership developed more efficient and cost-effective biomanufacturing methods for both companies and our partners.

“Partnering with FGen, and then Ginkgo, was a natural move to generate an immense amount of data to feed our AI algorithms,” said Dr. Charlie Cotton, Chief Science Officer of Cambrium. “By leveraging our respective strengths, we gained extremely valuable insights for both strain engineering and product optimization.”

Get in touch with the Ginkgo team today to discuss your R&D challenges!

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Biobased Alternatives to Synthetic Polymers with Bioweg

Developing cost-effective biobased materials as clean alternatives to synthetic polymers

Today, we’re announcing a new collaboration with Bioweg, a producer of highly functional and customizable biobased materials. Our partnership aims to optimize the production of bacterial cellulose and to produce novel variants of cellulose with improved performance to serve a variety of end markets.

Bioweg’s products are made of biodegradable bacterial cellulose and have already been tested and implemented by companies as an effective substitute for widely used synthetic polymers such as acrylates, polyethylene, and polystyrene. Synthetic polymers often appear as microbeads (i.e., micropowders) and texturants (i.e., Rheology modifiers) in products throughout cosmetics, homecare, personal care, agricultural coatings, and other industries, which contribute to microplastic pollution in waters worldwide. It is estimated that an average person could be ingesting about 5 grams of plastic each week (PDF) through the consumption of common foods and beverages. These microplastics are non-biodegradable and may carry toxic chemicals. Regulatory agencies and communities around the world are starting to regulate microplastics contamination. Just last year, the European Chemical Agency announced phasing out microbeads in ‘rinse-off’ and ‘leave-on’ cosmetics.

Leveraging our strain engineering and screening capabilities to deliver biobased solutions at scale

“Consumers and companies are united in their commitment to finding better performing and more sustainable alternatives for everyday products to break the chain of microplastic pollution. Our solutions are not just tackling a major environmental, sustainability and health problem, but also present a robust market opportunity to replace plastic polymers in care, coatings, chemicals, and other industries,” said Prateek Mahalwar, CEO at Bioweg. “We believe Ginkgo’s strain engineering and screening capabilities can enable us to deliver our biobased solutions at scale and competitive pricing.”

Bioweg is addressing a significant need in the marketplace to develop and produce a new generation of clean alternatives to synthetic polymers. We are committed to supporting the shift to sustainable and biobased high-performance alternatives and are thrilled to be working with Bioweg to address the pressing issues of microplastics contamination and promote responsible consumption.

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Optimizing Production of Biobased Speciality Chemicals with Lygos

Strain development program aims to accelerate efforts to create sustainable chemicals

Today we’re pleased to announce our multi-product research and development collaboration with Lygos. This partnership is designed to optimize and scale production of sustainable specialty ingredients that can replace toxic petrochemistry, reclaim local manufacturing, and advance industrial bio-innovation.

Together, we plan to advance two research and development programs over the course of approximately two years. Lygos’ organic acid targets are used to produce biodegradable formulations and polymer-based products used in consumer, agricultural and industrial markets. We at Ginkgo will leverage our extensive expertise in strain development and metabolic engineering as we work to rapidly design and optimize microorganisms that can convert low-cost sugar to high-value chemicals. This in turn can provide a more sustainable alternative to the traditional industrial chemicals that are made from petroleum-derived feedstock.

Creating sustainable biomanufacturing solutions

Many specialty organic acids rely on environmentally damaging and costly production processes. We’re excited to be working with Lygos to replace some of those harmful production methods with sustainable, environmentally friendly biomanufacturing processes. Ginkgo is committed to creating solutions that are better for the planet, and this partnership with Lygos will help advance our initiatives around climate sustainability while supporting domestic manufacturing and technology development.

“Lygos and Ginkgo have been at the forefront of this field, enabling customers to create sustainable products that can help solve the world’s environmental challenges and improve everyday products,” said Eric Steen, PhD, CEO at Lygos.  “The new partnership will enable us to augment our development timelines, allocate more research and development, and accelerate our product commercialization programs.”

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Enhancing Biomaterials with Bolt Threads

The new program builds on our existing work with Bolt Threads optimizing their b-silk protein

Today we’re announcing a multi-project collaboration with Bolt Threads, a biotechnology company creating the next generation of advanced materials, to increase the production efficiency and performance of their portfolio of products and to develop additional novel proteins for their biomaterials. The first program in this collaboration aims to optimize the production efficiency of Bolt’s Mylo™ material, a leather alternative material made out of mycelium, the underground root-like system of fungi.

Mylo is an animal-free, sustainable alternative to leather grown from mycelium 

Through Bolt Threads’ production process, mycelium grows into a foamy layer that, once harvested, can be dyed and processed into sheets of material that can be customized to desired size, color, shape, and thicknesses. Mylo can be used in footwear, handbags, wallets, phone cases, and other products; the product is already used by brands like adidas, Stella McCartney, GANNI, and lululemon. Unlike traditional leather made from animal hides, mycelium leather does not rely on raising livestock, and unlike synthetic leather, Mylo isn’t petroleum-derived.

Through this collaboration, we aim to increase the growth rate of Bolt’s mycelium strain, lowering the overall production costs of Mylo. This collaboration also marks an expansion of our current work together, as we are already optimizing the sustainability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of Bolt Threads’ b-silk™ protein manufacturing process.

Over the last few years, the largest fashion brands worldwide and the textiles industry have collectively recognized the need to develop more sustainable and low-footprint materials. Bolt Threads is at the forefront of this shift, and Mylo represents this future. We are excited to leverage our Foundry and Codebase to help drive down the cost of producing Mylo, making the product more accessible to a variety of markets where innovative and exciting alternative materials can be used.

“Ginkgo’s expertise in engineering biology has enabled us to accelerate our work transforming the clean beauty and personal care industries with b-silk protein,” said David Breslauer, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Bolt Threads. “We are thrilled to be partnering with them again to optimize the production of our mycelium technology which will help make Mylo more accessible to consumers and brands alike.”

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Sustainable Beauty and Personal Care Products with Sumitomo Chemical

Ginkgo and Sumitomo Chemical aim to create products that will bring significant benefits to consumers by supplying an ingredient that is animal-free and more sustainable than what’s currently on the market.

Ginkgo Bioworks started working with Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd, one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, in June 2021 to help significantly increase the production efficiency and sustainability of bio-based commercial products across a broad array of industries. Today, we’re pleased to announce a second collaboration. The new project plans to target a molecule intended to enable the introduction of more sustainable and cost-competitive products in the personal care and cosmetic industries. This molecule is envisioned to augment or replace an ingredient that is currently gathered from animal sources—a process which is not sustainable and also unappealing to many consumers—by producing it via fermentation instead.

What if you could grow ingredients instead of using animal sources?

“The cosmetics industry is demanding more sustainable and cost-competitive beauty and personal care products, as are many others we serve and we see tremendous potential in synthetic biology’s ability to make this possible at a commercial scale,” said Hiroshi Ueda, Executive Vice President of Sumitomo Chemical. “We’re encouraged by the progress of our ongoing first project with Ginkgo, and we believe it’s clear from how well our teams collaborate that we will also be able to find success within additional product areas as well. Through this project, we aim to build our own capability on fermentation production with, active involvement of our new organization SynBio Hub.”

Ginkgo’s platform provides unique advantages thanks to its growing codebase.

Not only is this project a natural fit for Ginkgo’s platform, but it provides the perfect opportunity to leverage and showcase our growing codebase. Ginkgo has prior experience developing a precursor molecule to the one Sumitomo Chemical is currently targeting. The data and experience Ginkgo has on this precursor molecule has significantly accelerated our current program with Sumitomo Chemical, possibly saving Sumitomo Chemical multiple years off its development timeline.

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

Developing Water Quality Biosensors with FREDSense

Ginkgo’s strain development capabilities to help develop advanced biosensors

Today, we’re excited to announce our partnership with FREDsense Technologies Corp, a next generation water quality platform company leveraging synthetic biology to build field kits for faster, cheaper, and more efficient analysis. Through this partnership, we seek to build four distinct microbial strain biosensors, compatible with FREDsense’s field-ready hardware for remote water quality monitoring applications.

Demand for scalable monitoring and testing systems has increased, as water quality becomes an ever-growing environmental and public health concern. Conventional water quality test results are often delayed, since samples must be transported to labs for chemical analysis. FREDsense builds portable solutions to efficiently assess the chemicals in the water at the source. This allows for rapid modification of water treatment processes in real-time without the need for external lab equipment.

Supporting real-time field detection of harmful molecules and toxins in any water source

The biosensors in development by Ginkgo aim to support real-time field detection of harmful molecules, and may be used to generate solutions for groundwater and industrial water management systems.

Partnering with FREDsense is an exciting opportunity to apply our strain development capabilities to powerful biosensor technology for an important application. Protecting our water sources is a mission critical initiative: life on this planet as we know it depends on it. We’re eager to work toward enhancing the capabilities of FREDsense’s platform to monitor for harmful contaminants in water.

“Water is our most critical resource, and we now have the technology to detect in real-time many of the threats or contaminants that can impact the water that our environments and communities depend on,” says David Lloyd, CEO of FREDsense. “Through this partnership with Ginkgo, we aim to introduce rapid, simple and accurate testing to deliver water quality monitoring systems to those that most need it. We believe that synthetic biology is the key to solving some of the biggest challenges facing the water industry globally and are very excited to partner with Ginkgo on this vision.”

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

What will you grow with Ginkgo?

Synthetic Biology for Climate Action

We believe synthetic biology has an important role to play in addressing climate change.

Climate change is a global threat that requires immediate action. It’s already impacting every single person and living thing on our planet. The best time to address climate change was decades ago; the next best time? Now. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s go grow!

Limiting warming to below 1.5°C will require us to reimagine our industrial landscapes to eliminate emissions and to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Decarbonizing our energy, materials, chemicals, and food production will require massive shifts in how we make stuff.

We believe that synthetic biology has an important role to play in this climate transition, whether it’s the resilience of ecosystems and communities to a changing climate, the reduction of emissions through circular manufacturing, or the sequestration of carbon through soil, oceanic, lithospheric, or anthropogenic sinks. We believe synthetic biology is going to be one of the enabling technologies for this revolution.

Biology is natively the technology of climate: it makes our air, makes our food, and cleans our water. We believe the ability to engineer biology is ultimately the biggest climate technology in the world.

What are we waiting for? Let’s go grow!

Last week, we hosted a virtual event with several key thought leaders in the world of synthetic biology for climate tech. Over 650 people from the wider synthetic biology and climate tech communities tuned in to share their work and excitement. The panelists discussed carbon fixation and sequestration pathways, manufacturing scale up, and new business models for carbon capture. You can check out the recording of the main stage above or on Ginkgo’s YouTube channel.

Bill Gates recently said that climate tech will create 8 to 10 trillion dollar-scale companies. We believe that at least a few of those will be synthetic biology companies. You may be starting one of those companies right now—we’d love to help you accelerate your climate tech R&D with the tools of our platform. Reach out!