Ginkgo Bioworks nabs $1.1B to fight COVID-19 in U.S.

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

November 25, 2020 -- The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved a loan of up to $1.1 billion to Ginkgo Bioworks, enabling it to expand biosecurity efforts, including COVID-19 vaccine infrastructure.

Ginkgo's automated laboratories have been repurposed for COVID-19 relief efforts and are focused on COVID-19 therapeutics, vaccines, and diagnostics. The company recently announced a partnership with Totient for therapeutic antibody discovery and the development of novel vaccine platforms with Synlogic. Gingko has also partnered with Moderna to optimize the processes used in its nucleic acid vaccine manufacturing. Further, Ginkgo has contributed to several large-scale diagnostic testing efforts throughout the U.S.

The DFC loan will directly support rapid vaccine discovery, development, and manufacturing to accelerate an end to the current COVID-19 pandemic and to help prevent future pandemic threats. Ginkgo will optimize manufacturing of critical raw materials required for production of nucleic acid vaccines against COVID-19. With its cell programming platform, the company has created processes that can dramatically increase the number of doses achievable with each manufacturing run.

The DFC initiative is supported under the Defense Production Act, in coordination with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services.

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Ginkgo Bioworks and artificial intelligence drug discovery firm Totient have partnered to identify antibodies effective against the novel coronavirus...

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