BOSTON, Sept. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Ginkgo Bioworks ("Ginkgo"), which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced its readiness to continue scaling support for COVID testing in congregate settings in response to new emergency standards and recommendations issued by the Biden-Harris Administration. Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG), serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products using biology. Last year, Ginkgo launched Concentric by Ginkgo, its public health and biosecurity initiative, to provide a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Concentric has built a turnkey solution for states, cities, and school districts to provide testing to every student in America using a foundation of pooled testing.
"Massive scale testing gives each of us and our community leaders the tools and data we need to make decisions that can stop the spread of COVID-19 while allowing us to live our lives," said Matt McKnight, Chief Commercial Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks, and Head of Concentric. "Gingko stands ready to partner with families, communities, States, the U.S. Federal Government, and other nations of the world to bring its biosecurity and pandemic preparedness tools into the fight against COVID and future pandemic potential threats."
Yesterday, President Biden announced additional measures in an updated COVID-19 plan. In addition to reaffirming the guidance of the CDC to provide regular testing as funded in the American Rescue Plan, President Biden has proposed new emergency standards to be imposed by the Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration to direct all businesses with more than 100 workers to require vaccinations or negative COVID-19 test results submitted weekly. The New York Times' Lauren Hirsch has reported that "some 80 million workers will be affected."
Today, Concentric by Ginkgo's lab network consists of dozens of partner labs which provide pooled testing in 19 states. In June, Concentric announced that it had processed swabs from over 600,000 noses including in 950 schools across 19 states. Today, Concentric has tested over twice that amount, serving major testing programs in Arizona, California, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, and is poised to announce additional major programs which will begin ramping up in the coming weeks. So far, Concentric is contracted to provide access to testing across school communities which serve over ten million students. Concentric's lab network has enough contracted and validated labs to serve approximately 44 million individuals with pooled tests every week and Concentric stands ready to invest to expand this partner capacity.
"Today's announcement from President Biden is a vital and laudable step to bringing this stage of the pandemic to an end," said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. "Vaccination and testing policies and associated support for schools is helping us achieve what families and communities around the country all want – to keep kids in the classroom and COVID out. Using pooled testing as a foundation can unlock that same approach to many other congregate settings, including the workplaces which President Biden spoke about last night."
As US Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona recently noted during a press conference announcing Concentric by Ginkgo's statewide partnership in Pennsylvania: "What I'm seeing in Pennsylvania is an example of what we could do when we put our minds together, when we remove the politics from it and say, how can we help our children? How can we help our schools?"
Concentric by Ginkgo's COVID-19 response also includes a program that will support biosurveillance tracking in three major international airports (JFK, EWR, and SFO) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and XpresCheck, as well as a program in collaboration with Biobot and the Department for Health and Human Services on wastewater surveillance. Ginkgo's overall COVID response and biosecurity efforts also include a program which supported Moderna with process optimization for key raw materials used in the manufacturing of its mRNA vaccines, including mRNA-1273, Moderna's vaccine candidate against COVID-19, the first to enter clinical trials, as well as a collaboration with Aldevron which yielded a manufacturing breakthrough for vaccinia capping enzyme used for manufacturing of mRNA vaccines.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. In May 2021, Ginkgo announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG), which, if completed, will result in Ginkgo, through a parent entity, Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings, Inc., becoming a public company. The extraordinary general meeting of Soaring Eagle's shareholders in connection with the transaction has been scheduled for September 14, 2021 and the transaction is expected to close shortly thereafter, subject to customary closing conditions. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.
ADDITIONAL LEGAL INFORMATION
Forward-Looking Statements Legend
This document contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws with respect to the proposed transaction between Ginkgo and Soaring Eagle, including statements regarding the anticipated timing of the transaction, the services offered by Ginkgo and the markets in which it operates, and Ginkgo's projected future results. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "believe," "project," "potential," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "strategy," "future," "opportunity," "plan," "may," "should," "will," "would," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this document, including but not limited to: (i) the risk that the transaction may not be completed in a timely manner or at all, which may adversely affect the price of Soaring Eagle's securities, (ii) the risk that the transaction may not be completed by Soaring Eagle's business combination deadline and the potential failure to obtain an extension of the business combination deadline if sought by Soaring Eagle, (iii) the failure to satisfy the conditions to the consummation of the transaction, including the adoption of the agreement and plan of merger by the shareholders of Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo, the satisfaction of the minimum trust account amount following redemptions by Soaring Eagle's public shareholders and the receipt of certain governmental and regulatory approvals, (iv) the lack of a third party valuation in determining whether or not to pursue the proposed transaction, (v) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstance that could give rise to the termination of the agreement and plan of merger, (vi) the effect of the announcement or pendency of the transaction on Ginkgo business relationships, performance, and business generally, (vii) risks that the proposed transaction disrupts current plans of Ginkgo and potential difficulties in Ginkgo employee retention as a result of the proposed transaction, (viii) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Ginkgo or against Soaring Eagle related to the agreement and plan of merger or the proposed transaction, (ix) the ability to maintain the listing of Soaring Eagle's securities on Nasdaq, (x) volatility in the price of Soaring Eagle's securities due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business and changes in the combined capital structure, (xi) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations after the completion of the proposed transaction, and identify and realize additional opportunities, and (xii) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors'' section of Soaring Eagle's proxy statement/prospectus relating to the transaction (the "Proxy Statement"), and in Soaring Eagle's other filings with the SEC. Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo caution that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo caution readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Neither Soaring Eagle nor Ginkgo undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
This document relates to a proposed transaction between Ginkgo and Soaring Eagle. This document does not constitute an offer to sell or exchange, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or exchange, any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, sale or exchange would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. In connection with the proposed transaction, Soaring Eagle filed a Proxy Statement on August 13, 2021. The Proxy Statement has been sent to all Soaring Eagle shareholders as of the record date of August 10, 2021. Soaring Eagle also will file other documents regarding the proposed transaction with the SEC. Before making any voting decision, investors and security holders of Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo are urged to read the registration statement, the proxy statement/prospectus and all other relevant documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC in connection with the proposed transaction as they become available because they will contain important information about the proposed transaction.
Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus and all other relevant documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC by Soaring Eagle through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, the documents filed by Soaring Eagle may be obtained free of charge by written request to Soaring Eagle at 955 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10075, Attention: Eli Baker, Chief Financial Officer, (310) 209-7280.
Participants in Solicitation
Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo and their respective directors and officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Soaring Eagle's shareholders in connection with the proposed transaction. Information about Soaring Eagle's directors and executive officers and their ownership of Soaring Eagle's securities is set forth in Soaring Eagle's filings with the SEC. To the extent that holdings of Soaring Eagle's securities have changed since the amounts printed in Soaring Eagle's proxy statement, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding the interests of those persons and other persons who may be deemed participants in the proposed transaction may be obtained by reading the proxy statement/prospectus regarding the proposed transaction when it becomes available. You may obtain free copies of these documents as described in the preceding paragraph.
SOURCE Ginkgo Bioworks