THE TOOLS TO END PANDEMICS
Accelerating diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines with synthetic biology
In March, we committed our resources to support the fight against COVID-19 and build long-term biosecurity infrastructure to prevent future pandemics. We are using our automated biotechnology tools to support widespread surveillance testing, vaccine manufacturing, and therapeutics discovery.
Public health experts have called for massive investment and expansion of routine surveillance testing since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Anthony Fauci has said that a national testing plan should focus on “Literally flooding the system with tests.” Concentric by Ginkgo is working to enable widespread, routine testing by building the end-to-end logistics and scale needed to deploy rapid antigen tests and pooled surveillance testing.
Concentric by Ginkgo provides easy logistics and an end-to-end service for onsite testing, offering both molecular tests and rapid antigen tests.
RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS
We’ve secured access to tens of millions of rapid antigen tests per month, and have funded expansion of antigen test manufacturing in the US. Rapid antigen tests are FDA authorized and provide results in 10 minutes without additional equipment.
POOLED SURVEILLANCE TESTING
Pooling is a method that combines test samples from several people into one specimen to be processed in our lab, allowing for increased testing capacity at lower costs. Concentric is validating a pooling service that will use Ginkgo’s next-generation sequencing machines with a goal of lowering prices further and opening a new level of capacity.
Optimizing Vaccine Manufacuturing
NUCLEIC ACID VACCINES
We are supporting Moderna and other vaccine manufacturers with process optimization for key raw materials used in the manufacturing of nucleic acid vaccines. This type of vaccine—such as those being developed by Moderna and Pfizer—have emerged as an exciting new modality given their rapid development timelines and emerging data indicating high efficacy. However, nucleic acid vaccines require a different manufacturing process and have never been produced at the scale required to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Ginkgo’s work to date has created processes that can significantly increase the number of doses achievable with each manufacturing run.
STRENGTHENING THE VACCINE SUPPLY CHAIN
RNA-based vaccines also require specialized enzymes to produce each dose. We have optimized the production of these enzymes in engineered microbes, making it possible to produce hundreds of millions of doses.
DEVELOPING NEW VACCINE PLATFORMS
We are also supporting the development of other types of vaccines, including optimizing protein subunit vaccines for improved stability, as well as novel vaccine platforms. New vaccines that can be rapidly developed against novel outbreaks, readily manufactured, and don’t have cold chain requirements are an important part of future pandemic response infrastructure.
We are working with Totient, an AI-driven drug discovery company, to rapidly identify neutralizing antibodies against COVID-19. We are using our platform to express and screen thousands of antibody candidates with the aim of identifying broadly neutralizing therapeutic antibodies against COVID-19 for further development.
Supporting COVID Research
SYNTHESIZING VIRAL SEQUENCES
We synthesized viral sequences for use in R&D for diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, making them freely available through Addgene and the BioBricks Foundation’s Freegenes program
We are performing full genome sequencing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to inform epidemiological studies of viral spread.