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Ginkgo Bioworks Acquires Circularis, Altar

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks said on Tuesday that it has acquired two firms: Circularis, developer of a promoter screening platform, and France's Altar, a maker of instruments for automated adaptive evolution of microorganisms.

Based in Oakland, California, Circularis uses circularized RNA to screen for promoters and other enhancers.

"The Circularis platform strengthens Ginkgo's platform for development of cell and gene therapies, providing the capability to rapidly identify novel promoters with appropriate strength and tissue specificity designed into customer-specific delivery modalities," Ginkgo said in a statement.

Altar's Genemat automated laboratory evolution instrument can help engineer microorganisms to work in industrially relevant conditions, Ginkgo said in a statement, adding that it would incorporate "a fleet" of instruments into its synthetic biology foundry's strain engineering work. The firms had previously partnered on customer programs.

"As the range of programs we work on continues to expand, it is imperative that we have the best tools in rational design as well as the ability to leverage the inherent diversity and creativity that emerges from evolutionary processes," Nikos Reppas, Ginkgo's senior director of foundry technology, said in a statement.

Financial and other details of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

In Tuesday morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Ginkgo rose 6 percent to $3.33.

The startups are the latest in Ginkgo's 2022 shopping spree. In July, the Boston-based synbio and biosecurity firm acquired Zymergen for $300 million in stock as well as Bayer's biologics research and development site in West Sacramento, California.

In March, Ginkgo acquired ETH Zurich spinout FGen, while in January, it acquired Project Beacon COVID-19, a Boston-based coronavirus testing organization.