Thursday, June 09, 2016

Ginkgo Bioworks Raises $100 Million To Use Synthetic Biology To Design Microbes For Industry

Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based startup that says it is the biggest consumer of synthetic DNA on the planet, just nabbed a big payday. The plan: custom-design living cells for companies in the fragrance, flavor and food industries.
 Ginkgo announced this morning that it has raised $100 million from investors including including Y Combinator’s Continuity Fund, Senator Investment Group, Cascade Investment, Baillie Gifford, Viking Global Investors and Allen & Company LLC. It also says it is buying a huge amount of DNA–600 million base pairs–from the two major manufacturers of synthetic DNA sequence: Gen9 and Twist Bioscience. That’s about 600,000 genes worth of material, and 60% of the total amount of synthetic DNA sold in 2015. The price of this raw genetic material has been dropping precipitously, making it more possible to engineer microbes like bacteria and yeast.
 There's a more detailed post on Forbes that you can read here
Ginkgo was founded in 2008, the brainchild of a group of MIT Ph.D.’s and their mentor, Tom Knight.  For years they worked carefully, using robotics and other techniques to make creating designer organisms more like manufacturing and less like making a bespoke suit. In 2014, Ginkgo became a Y Combinator company and started a streak of fundraising that, including today’s round, has brought the company $154 million.