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Ginkgo Bioworks Acquires 3 Startups and Launches a Technology Network of 25 More — in a Single Day

It is a truly remarkable day for Ginkgo Bioworks, a notable player in the field of synthetic biology, as the company announced today the acquisitions of two AI-driven drug discovery startups, Reverie Labs and Patch Biosciences, and an RNA platform company, Proof Diagnostics.

This move marks a significant expansion of Ginkgo’s capabilities in gene-based diagnostics, artificial intelligence-generated compounds, and gene editing technologies.

The acquisitions are part of Ginkgo’s broader strategy to enhance its research and development offerings through a new Ginkgo Technology Network, a pioneering ecosystem, comprising over 25 partners across various sectors such as AI, genetic medicines, biologics, and manufacturing. The aim is to enhance customer R&D programs through integrated capabilities.

With over 15 years of experience in integrating platform technologies and forming strategic partnerships, Ginkgo stands as a veteran systems integrator. Now the company makes a quite vivid move to broaden its service offerings with this network, as well as with newly acquired startups.

Among the companies acquired is Proof Diagnostics, a firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that has gained attention for its development of a “future-proof” COVID-19 screener.

This technology, which also has the potential to detect other diseases such as the flu and respiratory syncytial virus, utilizes CRISPR gene-editing technology for rapid analysis.

Proof Diagnostics, co-founded by Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, has been recognized for its innovative OMEGAs technology—an emerging class of RNA-programmable, non-Cas enzymes that offer a promising alternative to current genomic medicine tools due to their compact size and diversity.

The acquisition of Proof Diagnostics is aimed at bolstering Ginkgo’s gene therapy services by integrating OMEGAs into its gene editing toolkit, offering a more versatile approach to genomic medicine.

The second acquisition involves Patch Biosciences, a New York-based developer of AI platforms designed to create cargos for genetic medicines.

Patch Biosciences is known for its use of machine-learning models and assays that will now enhance Ginkgo’s existing services, adding valuable capabilities and resources to its genetic medicine toolkit.

Finally, Ginkgo has acquired Reverie Labs, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company specializing in AI-powered drug discovery.

This acquisition includes Reverie Labs’ advanced infrastructure and software, pivotal in training large-scale AI foundation models. Furthermore, four crucial members of the Reverie AI team, including Chief Technology Officer Ankit Gupta, who will take on the role of Head of AI/ML Advancement at Ginkgo, are set to join the company.

This integration aims to significantly enhance Ginkgo’s AI/ML-driven discovery services and expedite the development of next-generation biological foundation models. The newly joined Reverie team will play a crucial role in assimilating Reverie’s technology into Ginkgo’s expanding AI/ML infrastructure, as well as in the future development and application of AI/ML techniques in biological engineering.

Ginkgo plans to incorporate Reverie’s models, software, and workflows to advance its AI/ML-driven experimental design infrastructure. Additionally, Reverie’s generative AI platform for chemistry will be integrated into Ginkgo’s toolkit to bolster small molecule programs.

Ginkgo’s current AI/ML initiatives include Owl, an AI-guided design tool that complements a comprehensive suite of computational tools vetted by Ginkgo’s enzyme engineering team across numerous projects. The company has also engaged in several strategic collaborations aimed at advancing biological engineering and biosecurity, including partnerships with Google Cloud, Merck, Pfizer, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

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Biotech Companies