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Ginkgo Bioworks, Rwandan Government Ink Biosecurity Agreement

NEW YORK Ginkgo Bioworks said on Thursday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Rwandan government on biosecurity development and implementation.

Under the terms of the deal, Ginkgo's biosecurity subsidiary, Concentric by Ginkgo, will collaborate with the Rwanda Development Board to equip public health institutions in the Central African country with biosecurity tools and training, as well as provide data infrastructure for lab automation, data analysis, and bioinformatics. Ginkgo will also build relationships with private sector-led biotechnology initiatives in the country. RDB will contribute expertise in skills development and on-the-ground support for the partnership.

Ginkgo and RDB also plan to collaborate to inform workforce development priorities in the areas of biotechnology, biomanufacturing, and bioengineering, and "to explore potential opportunities for Rwanda to leverage its biodiversity as a foundation for innovation within its bioeconomy," the partners said in a statement.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for robust public health and biotechnology infrastructure in Rwanda and around the world," RDB CEO Clare Akamanzi said in a statement. "We are excited about our plans to partner with Ginkgo to bring cutting-edge biosecurity capabilities to Rwanda across various sectors including health and agriculture. We believe this will stimulate our growing bioeconomy and help us learn more about our biodiversity."

Established in 2008, the RDB is a Rwandan government institution formed to accelerate economic development.

Biosecurity, especially COVID-19 testing, has become the main revenue generator for Ginkgo, founded in 2009 as a synthetic biology platform company. The firm launched Concentric in 2020 and signed a deal in May to implement biosecurity and pathogen monitoring infrastructure in Qatar.