Date: 13th May 2021
The synthetic biology pioneers Ginkgo Bioworks have announced they will become a public company through a $17.5 billion deal with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Group – a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company.
The business agreement will see Soaring Eagle change its name to Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings, with a $15 billion pre-money equity valuation of Ginkgo and up to $2.5 billion of primary proceeds.
Ginkgo Bioworks, based in Boston, US, is a biotech company specialising in the genetic engineering of cells with industrial applications. Founded in 2008 by four Massachusetts Institute of Technology classmates Jason Kelly, Reshma Shetty, Barry Cancton and Austin Che, and Tom Knight their professor, their nearly 20 years aim – to develop a platform that makes cell programming easier for their customers and partners.
Likening DNA to a digital code – a code made up of A’s, Ts, C’s and G’s rather than 1’s and 0’s – Ginkgo’s platform makes it easier to program this code. With applications ranging from biosecurity and bioindustrial solutions, to enzyme discovery and mammalian cell engineering. In Tom Knight’s words “The interesting thing to program in the 21st century isn’t going to be computers — it’s biology.”
The move will hope to dramatically increase the use of Ginkgo’s state-of-the-art technology to assist bioparma companies and accelerate drug development.
One recent area of investment for Ginkgo was their ‘living medicine’ collaboration with Synlogic in 2019. This saw Synlogic’s platform for designing and building living medicines complementing Ginkgo’s cell programming platform, allowing optimisation of strains at large scales. The platform collaboration aimed at accelerating drug candidates suitable for preclinical trials and advancing treatments for patients, is typical of their dynamic partnerships which continue to scale and harness the power of biology
The transaction with Soaring Eagle is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. Harry Sloan, CEO of Soaring Eagle, said ‘Ginkgo is not only a leader in this field, but its founders launched the modern practice of synthetic biology. There has never been a more critical time to employ Ginkgo’s technological achievements and efficiencies toward solving so many real-world problems—environment, food, and health to name a few’.
For more information please see the press release from Ginkgo at PR Newswire