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Ginkgo Bioworks Launches $350M Funding Vehicle for Spinoffs

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks today announced the launch of a $350 million private investment vehicle for funding spinoffs from the firm. 

Dubbed the Ferment Consortium, the fund is supported by a commitment from Ginkgo's current major investors including Viking Global Investors, General Atlantic, and Bill Gates' Cascade Investment. 

In a statement, Ginkgo said it would partner with market leaders in mature industries on these spinoff companies. "Strategic partners will support these new joint ventures with keystone investments alongside Ferment Consortium, and contribute market intelligence and critical channel access," the firm said. New ventures backed by the fund will have full access to Ginkgo's cell programming platform. 

"We're seeing growing demand from large, sophisticated, strategic players across multi-billion dollar industries who realize that synthetic biology will transform their fields," Jason Kelly, CEO and cofounder of Ginkgo, said in a statement. "These incumbents want to be part of shaping that disruption and owning a stake in it rather than watching it unfold."

Boston-based Ginkgo has already spun off two companies this way, in the agriculture and food industries. In 2017, Ginkgo launched Joyn Bio in partnership with Bayer Crop Sciences, along with $100 million in financing. Earlier this year, Ginkgo announced the launch of Motif FoodWorks with $90 million in Series A funding and strategic support from Fonterra and Louis Dreyfus Company. Motif also received funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Viking Global.

"The Ferment Consortium will catalyze these formations and help fund companies with the speed and strength to transform markets using synthetic biology," Kelly said.