Ginkgo acquires Gen9: The Synbio ring begins to tighten

January 22, 2017 |

In Massachusetts, Ginkgo Bioworkshas acquired Gen9, a pioneer in the synthesis and assembly of DNA. The acquisition will bring Gen9’s unique expertise in assembling pathway-length synthetic DNA into Ginkgo’s automated organism engineering foundries, enabling improved speed and capacity in the construction of new organism designs for application across a wide range of industries.

The what

As part of the acquisition deal, Ginkgo’s state-of-the-art facilities will become home to Gen9’s BioFab manufacturing platform and sophisticated suite of proprietary technologies, software, and informatics tools, as well as Gen9’s extensive intellectual property portfolio of more than 125 patents and patents pending related to DNA synthesis and assembly technologies.

Gen9’s operations and research and development teams will also join Ginkgo, bringing with them significant expertise in gene synthesis. Gen9’s technology has made it a worldwide leader in producing long fragments of synthetic DNA, up to 10,000 base pairs

The Ginkgo why

These long designed DNA sequences are crucial for Ginkgo’s pipeline of designing and prototyping multigene enzyme pathways for the production of cultured ingredients including fragrances and flavors, cosmetics, and nutritional ingredients, as well as specialty enzymes and intermediate chemicals used in a number of industries.

The broader why

This acquisition is critical in evolving the biotech ecosystem and empowering the bioeconomy to bring unprecedented scale and speed to organism design. As more companies across industries start to preference cultured ingredients to make their products (for productivity and sustainability purposes), it will be increasingly important that the biotech industry push the boundaries to meet demand and with Gen9, that type of progress will be possible.

The ring of relationships

In “The Rise of Organic Manufacturing: Ginkgo, Amyris, Genomatica’s circle of innovation is a trend to watch,” we wrote:

The factories of old — a technological wave that swept in with the Industrial Revolution — these were inorganic manufacturing centers, and they are now the wave of the past.

The change may not yet be obvious. Companies are still putting steel in the ground, and using advanced robotics and analytics to add speed and value to the old ways. But the change is underway — consider in the far future that everything about manufacturing will be living, from life, organic. The inputs, the processes, the very walls of the fermenters themselves and every system in the plant.

In “We band of brothers: Crisp, CRISPR, Crispin’s Day and the democratization of crop R&D” we wrote:

At the critical juncture of Shakespeare’s Henry V, on St. Crispin’s Day, 1415, when the French forces looked ready to overwhelm the small band of knights that are with the English King at Agincourt, the young King Henry says:

This day is call’d the feast of Crispian
…And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

The names of the characters have changed and where there was Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, we now have Zymergen, Arzeda and Gen9, Ginkgo and Amyris, Caribou and Edison AgroSciences, Calyx and Benson Hill.

Keep an eye on

These are circles of relationships, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see more consolidation. Keep a sharp eye on Zymergen, REG Life Sciences, Amyris, Benson Hill and Arzeda. Especially Arzeda.

Reaction from the stakeholders

“Gen9 was founded to significantly increase the world’s capacity to cost-effectively generate high-quality DNA for use in transforming industries and powering the bioeconomy. Ginkgo has been our largest customer in recent years, and we’re thrilled to join forces and together forge a new trajectory for bringing the benefits of synthetic DNA to a wide range of industries. Ginkgo is truly a natural fit for Gen9,” said Kevin Munnelly, President & CEO of Gen9.

“Our mission is to make biology easier to engineer and through that to enable our customers to grow better products. Having Gen9’s synthesis and assembly technology available to our customers is a valuable addition to our foundries, allowing us to further speed up the process of organism design,” said Jason Kelly, cofounder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. “We are seeing interest from a broad range of companies looking to use cultured ingredients to make their products in a more efficient and more sustainable way. Having more direct, immediate access to the building blocks primarily for our internal use will allow us to continue to push the envelope of what is possible in biotechnology.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Top Stories

Thank you for visting the Digest.