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Ginkgo Bioworks, Boehringer Ingelheim Sign Drug Discovery Deal Worth up to $406M

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks said on Monday that it has partnered with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim to mine Ginkgo's metagenomic sequence database to identify lead molecules for drug discovery.

Under the terms of the partnership, Ginkgo will receive upfront research fees and is eligible to receive success-based R&D, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments for a specified number of projects up to a total of $406 million. Ginkgo is also entitled to royalties on sales of future products.

"Ginkgo is well positioned to help partners like Boehringer Ingelheim complement their drug discovery efforts particularly when it comes to natural product discovery," Ginkgo CEO and Cofounder Jason Kelly said in a statement. "We are thrilled to work with Boehringer Ingelheim leveraging our Foundry and Codebase to unlock new possibilities in biopharma innovation."

Boston-based Ginkgo's metagenomic database comprises over three terabases of sequence data and over 2 billion proprietary protein sequences from a variety of microbes.

The deal is the latest pharma partnership for Ginkgo, which is gaining traction in that industry as more data from its cell engineering programs have become available. The firm has partnerships with Merck, Novo Nordisk, Roche, Eli Lilly, and Moderna, among others, and predicted a 21 percent increase in cell engineering revenues in 2023, based on interest from the pharma and ag-bio industries.