Synthetic Biology Company to Transform Biology with 600 Million Synthetic DNA
The Boston based synthetic biology startup, Ginkgo Bioworks has raised $100 million dollars of series C investment to pool into purchasing a prodigious amount of synthetic DNA of about 600 million base pairs.
Gingko will utilize the pool of synthetic DNA by taking the specific DNA sequence and engineering them to create a custom-grafted organisms. The microbes they basically utilize for the formation of the bioengineered products are yeast, bacteria and algae which gets a complete renovation of its functionality after the modification .
The company transfers the genes taken out from the flowers into yeast to develop genetically engineered yeasts which can produce the fragrance of the flowers whose genes has been transferred to them. They are working with the DARPA, the US Defense Department’s technology research organization to produce probiotics which will help the US soldiers in killing the stomach bugs which they might carry from overseas. Likewise, they are involved in the development of different cultured products in fragrance, flavoring, sweetener and pharmaceutical field.
Gingko Bioworks proves to be an outstanding example for organism designing where tools in automation, analytics, and software work in sync to design organisms according to the needs of customers. They work on providing products for fragrance, probiotics, flavour and food industries. The company found by a famous computer scientist Tom Knight and MIT biological engineering PhDs Jason Kelly, Reshma Shetty, Barry Canton and Austin Che is one of Y Combinator’s first biotech startup.
Last year, series A funding of $9 million was provided by Y Combinator and other tech investors followed by a series B funding of $45 million from Viking Global after few months of series A. Now the series C round is being supported by YC’s Continuity Fund, Senator Investment Group, Cascade Investment, Baillie Gifford, Viking Global Investors and Allen & Company LLC.
The total funding of the company has risen to $154 million in the past 15 months. It has ordered 700 million base pairs in the last 7 months which comes to about 70% of the total synthetic DNA produced last year.
A substantial amount from this funding will be used to finish the 70,000 square-foot automated foundry Bioworks 2 that will be used to Ginkgo’s designer DNA prototypes and create novel products.
The series C investment group has a strong base in life sciences sector. Senator has an investment in a B and T cell profiling company Adaptive Biotechnologies. Cascade greatly supports computational drug design shops. Nimbus Therapeutics, a company that landed on a $1.2 billion deal with Gilead, this April is being backed up by Cascade. Flatiron Health a Roche-backed cancer analytics firm and German mRNA specialist CureVac are noteworthy investments of Baillie Gifford.
Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks announced “We believe that designed biology will be for this century what information technology and computers were to the last. Biology is the most advanced manufacturing technology on the planet. As we get better at designing biology, we’ll use it to make everything, disrupting sectors that the traditional tech industry hasn’t been able to access. In the past few years, we’ve heard that biology is becoming a software problem, but biology can do many things that software simply can’t.”
This massive funding has brought Ginkgo Bioworks into limelight among other organism designing companies and its competitors like the silicon-valley based startup, Zymergen.
Featured: Founders of Ginkgo Bioworks (Photo credit: Boston Business Journal).