Ginkgo Bioworks acquires FGen and its ultra-high-throughput screening platform

Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks aims to make programming cells as easy as programming computers. Ginkgo believes that FGen's ultra-high-throughput screening platform technology will significantly enhance Ginkgo's cell screening capabilities and enable Ginkgo to explore wider expanses of genetic opportunity space.

Ginkgo and FGen plan to close the transaction promptly. Post-closing, Ginkgo expects that the integration of FGen's platform can greatly increase the capacity of Ginkgo's Design-Build-Test-Learn strain development engine, a foundation of Ginkgo's technology stack. By adding FGen's ultra-high-throughput (uHT) screening platform to its existing HT screening systems, Ginkgo seeks to be able to routinely analyze the performance of millions of genetic prototypes in pooled format, upgrading the quality of candidate hits that feed into downstream workflows for strain characterization and validation.

FGen's platform, built on nanoliter reactor technology, is extremely flexible across organisms, pathways, and target products. The platform can be deployed to screen for both intracellular and secreted target products as well as both small molecules and proteins. It can also accommodate diverse organisms including bacteria, yeast, filamentous species, and mammalian cells.

"Ginkgo is committed to investing in creating the premier cell programming platform by integrating best-in-class tools from around the world and deploying them broadly across our programs," said Barry Canton, Ginkgo's co-founder and Chief Technology Officer. "We have worked with the FGen team for several years and believe their technology and world-class scientists will allow us to further improve our ability to explore an exponentially wider design space and deliver more value for our customers."

FGen is a Swiss start-up company founded 2011 in Basel, Switzerland as a spin-off from the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering of the ETH Zurich. As a contract research organization the start-up collaborates with partners from Biotech, Life Sciences, Agribusiness, and Pharma in order to develop microbes, cells, chemicals, and proteins for various applications.

"Our team has spent the last decade building one of the most advanced screening platforms in the world in the hopes of enabling breakthrough discoveries and products across industries," said Andreas Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of FGen. "We are excited to be welcomed onto the Ginkgo platform where we can deploy this technology much more broadly and better support customers and their world-changing work."

Under the terms of the transaction, FGen will receive upfront payment and additional contingent consideration related to, among other things, the successful integration and deployment of the FGen technology across Ginkgo programs.

(Press release / SK)
Picture FGen Nanoliter Reactors