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Ginkgo Bioworks Acquires Massachusetts COVID-19 Testing Firm

NEW YORK – Ginkgo Bioworks said on Wednesday that it has acquired Project Beacon COVID-19, a Boston-based coronavirus testing organization.

Under the terms of the deal, Ginkgo acquired Project Beacon's assets and will assume responsibility for the firm's ongoing operations, providing COVID-19 monitoring tools to communities in Massachusetts and other areas. Concentric by Ginkgo, the synthetic biology firm's COVID-19 testing division, will integrate Project Beacon's partner and customer relationships, digital platform, and several key personnel into its broader efforts.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"The mission of Project Beacon has always been to support Massachusetts residents by providing low-cost, convenient testing," Muz Mansuri, executive director of Project Beacon and venture partner at F-Prime Capital, said in a statement. "We have no profit motive, and we didn't seek capital return in this transaction. We supported this combination with Concentric by Ginkgo because we believe it will allow us to serve more people around the state and nation. We are excited to continue providing these critical services to all those we currently work with and hope to further expand community access with the added reach of Concentric."

Project Beacon was launched by F-Prime Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and the Broad Institute to help organizations in Massachusetts and its surrounding areas implement affordable and accessible COVID-19 testing.

Concentric by Ginkgo provides COVID-19 monitoring services for over 280,000 individuals per week through its programs in K-12 schools, correctional facilities, airports, and other community settings. Concentric conducted over 3 million tests in the second half of 2021.

Ginkgo, which went public last year through a special purpose acquisition company, has made several recent deals in the COVID-19 testing space, partnering with Eurofins on testing in schools and with XpresCheck and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on pooled testing in US airports.

"As we embark on a new wave of the pandemic and grapple with the spread of the Omicron variant, large-scale testing will be critical to help keep kids in schools and mitigate the spread of COVID-19," said Matt McKnight, chief commercial officer at Ginkgo Bioworks, who is leading the firm's public health and biosecurity efforts. "Integrating Project Beacon's capabilities with our Concentric by Ginkgo offering will enable us to further empower communities in Massachusetts and beyond with the tools they need to make important public health decisions."

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