BOSTON, Sept. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Ginkgo Bioworks, the organism company, announced the opening of Bioworks2, the next generation of their foundry for designing and prototyping organisms. Ginkgo's foundries are ushering in a new era of genetic engineering, automating this highly manual process to lend profound scale and precision to organism design. With this new model, Ginkgo can further advance its work, bringing the most advanced technology on the planet—biology—into new markets, from consumer goods to industrial manufacturing.
The 18,000 square foot facility features sophisticated genetic engineering technology, including dozens of robots that Ginkgo's designers can use to test thousands of versions of a custom organism at once. This allows Ginkgo to make new organisms for consumer goods products and other markets in months, rather than years, at a lower cost.
"The opening of Bioworks2 is a huge milestone for Ginkgo, and for the organism engineering industry as a whole," said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. "Biology is a better way to make things. Writing DNA has become remarkably cheaper and more available in the past few years, and Ginkgo's foundry model makes the process of designing with DNA scalable for the first time. This has massive implications with how we manufacture things and we can now bring biotech into many new markets."
Ginkgo's new engineering facility increases its current capacity by at least 6x. At full capacity, Bioworks1 will build and test 100 million base pairs of designed DNA per year. In June, Ginkgo signed an agreements for 600 million base pairs of synthetic DNA from Gen9 and Twist Bioscience—the largest ever order of synthetic DNA—which will be prototyped and tested in the two foundries in 2017. The company plans to expand its foundries to more than 80,000 square feet by 2018. This scale will enable the company to continue to partner with Fortune 1000 companies on new biological products that are better for people and the planet, from flavors to fragrance to other bio-based materials.
A Growing Industrial Biotechnology Ecosystem
Bioworks2's launch comes after a strong year of growth for Ginkgo and the broader ecosystem of industrial biotechnology. In June, Ginkgo was named #7 on CNBC's list of 50 most disruptive companies and secured $100M in funding, adding to the $1.7 billion invested into 100 deals within the industry so far this year. This month, Ginkgo announced a partnership with Cargill to explore strain improvements that will optimize Cargill's bioindustrial fermentations. It also announced a partnership with agricultural processor and food ingredient provider ADM to develop custom strains of microorganisms for cultured ingredients.
Earlier this year, Ginkgo announced a strategic partnership with Amyris, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRS), the industrial bioscience company, to accelerate time to market for cultured ingredients in flavor and fragrance, cosmetics, and nutrition. Through the combined strength of Ginkgo's organism engineering foundries and Amyris's large scale biomanufacturing, this synergistic partnership is expected to deliver more new cultured ingredients into the global market in the next three years than the total industry has achieved in the last 10 years.
Today, Ginkgo is also announcing a new partnership with Genomatica, a leader in bioengineering processes that provide a better way to produce major chemicals, with better economics, sustainability, and performance. Genomatica's proven leadership in licensing process technology for the chemical industry will scale Ginkgo's efforts in organism design. As Ginkgo announces their new foundry, today Novamont, a Genomatica licensee, also announced the grand opening of the world's first commercial plant for bio-production of a major intermediate chemical. The $100M facility in Bottrighe, Italy is a major milestone towards Genomatica's goal of a renewable chemical industry.
"Ginkgo's foundries bring tremendous capability in organism engineering and complement our strengths in whole-process design, computation, and manufacturing scale-up," said Christophe Schilling, CEO of Genomatica. "Genomatica can help Ginkgo scale their programs and Ginkgo can help Genomatica deliver solutions even faster that move the needle in a transition to more sustainable, high volume, everyday products."
As the partnership with Amyris is enabling rapid commercialization of biobased cultured ingredients, the agreement with Genomatica will accelerate the production of renewable major market intermediate and specialty chemicals.
"The broader industrial biotechnology market has also evolved in 2016, and we are proud to be at the center of that," said Kelly. "Rather than individual companies trying to keep all aspects of the bioindustrial value chain in-house, partnerships like the agreements that Ginkgo made this year with Gen9 and Twist Bioscience in DNA synthesis and Amyris and Genomatica in fermentation and bioprocess design show that by collaborating, companies can achieve more together."
Boston's HUBweek 2016
In partnership with Boston's annual HUBweek, Ginkgo Bioworks will be hosting a panel "Microbes of the Future" today, Thursday, Sept. 29, at 11 a.m. ET. The panel will be comprised of Jason Kelly of Ginkgo Bioworks, Kevin Munnelly, CEO of Gen9, and Jasmina Aganovic, President of Mother Dirt, moderated by Cynthia Graber, co-host of Gastropod, and will be followed by tours of the new foundry. For more information, visit hubweek.org/events/microbes-of-the-future and ginkgobioworks.com.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo Bioworks uses the most advanced technology on the planet— biology — to grow products instead of manufacture them. The company's technology platform is bringing biotechnology into consumer goods markets—enabling fragrance, cosmetic, nutrition, and food companies to make better products. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.
SOURCE Ginkgo Bioworks