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Ginkgo Bioworks, Berkeley Lights Strike $150M Synthetic Biology Deal

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks and Berkeley Lights said today that they have inked a $150 million deal to incorporate Berkeley Lights' Beacon optofluidic platform into Ginkgo's automated genetic engineering foundries.

Under the multi-year, non-exclusive deal, Boston-based Ginkgo will acquire Beacon platforms from Emeryville, California-based Berkeley Lights and fund the development of workflows to use them in a variety of microbial and mammalian organisms, a Ginkgo spokesperson said in an email.

Berkeley Lights' platform captures, manipulates, and characterizes many individual cells in parallel. Incorporating it into the workflows of Ginkgo's automated foundries is expected to more than triple Ginkgo's capacity to measure the performance of cells, increasing the speed and efficiency with which it can deliver products to customers.

"We're exponentially improving our ability to engineer biology every year and new technologies like Berkeley Lights' platform are essential to maintaining that pace of improvement," Barry Canton, Ginkgo Bioworks cofounder and chief technology officer, said in a statement. "The Berkeley Lights team has already had an incredible impact on pharma — including cell line development and antibody discovery — and we believe this partnership will bring about a step-change in the speed and scale at which we engineer biology for applications across a variety of industries."

Furthermore, while existing workflows on the Berkeley Lights platform are primarily focused on mammalian cells for drug discovery and development, the companies said they will work together to expand its application to other organisms such as bacterial, yeast, and other fungal cells in order to develop a broad range of synthetic biology products.

"We are in an era where cell-based products are changing everything from healthcare and biofuels to agriculture and food," Keith Breinlinger, chief technology officer of Berkeley Lights, said in a statement. "At the same time, using cells to make new, better, and more efficient products is in its nascency. We believe you will see a huge groundswell in this market in the coming years and we are excited to partner with Ginkgo to enable the development of new biological products while expanding our applications in the synthetic biology market."

The deal comes just a few weeks after Ginkgo raised $290 million in a Series E financing round.

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