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Ginkgo Bioworks, Google Cloud Partner on AI, Large Language Models

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks said Tuesday that it has formed a five-year partnership with Google Cloud to develop large language models for genomics, protein function, and synthetic biology. The companies hope that the collaboration will support cell programming and biosecurity to help advance fields including drug discovery, agriculture, and industrial manufacturing.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Ginkgo said that Google Cloud will provide unspecified funding "to help Ginkgo achieve certain milestones over the next three years."

As part of the collaboration, the Boston-based biotech firm will make Google Cloud its primary cloud service provider and gain access to the internet giant's collection of high-performance tensor processing units.

The companies will combine Ginkgo's biological codebase and Google Cloud's Vertex AI platform to create and train AI models for "core biological engineering challenges." Ginkgo will also seek to improve centralized data repositories, hoping to break down data silos with Google Cloud's BigQuery search technology.

"We believe that by partnering with Google Cloud, Ginkgo can supercharge our mission to make biology easier to engineer," Ginkgo Cofounder and CEO Jason Kelly said in a statement.

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said that this is the Alphabet business unit's first such partnership, "underscoring our confidence that Ginkgo will play a critical and pioneering role in the life sciences space, leveraging AI to reshape humanity's understanding of biology."