By leveraging Ginkgo’s platform for cell programming, Verb Biotics will develop differentiated probiotic products for the nutrition, health, and wellness industries
BOSTON, Sept. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Ginkgo Bioworks (“Ginkgo”), which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced the launch of Verb Biotics (“Verb”), a probiotics innovation company that will identify and design new strains of probiotic bacteria with advanced properties for human nutrition, health, and wellness. Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG), has successfully launched several new companies across a variety of end-markets, bringing together funding from strategic and financial investors. The Ferment Consortium, a company creation studio that works with Viking Global Investors and Cascade Investment, both of whom are providing capital to Verb, was created to help ideate and launch new companies that use cell programming to support human and environmental health and well-being.
The probiotics category is a $50B global industry that’s growing rapidly. As awareness and understanding of the microbiome—the trillions of bacteria that live in the human body—has grown over the past decade, there has been tremendous interest in probiotic enhanced foods, beverages and supplement products as part of lifestyle regimens that reduce chronic disease and improve wellness. These products have used strains of bacteria common to yogurt and other fermented products. However, there are a number of product development challenges involved, including limited shelf life and stability, and the need to identify strains with more specific metabolic profiles.
“The probiotics industry has been in an era of partial understanding that has struggled with a need for more mechanistic understanding of how probiotics impact health,” said Mike Bush, Verb advisor and Executive Board Member of the International Probiotics Association. “Ginkgo has a suite of robust tools that will enable this new company to transform the paradigm for probiotics in the supplement and food markets.”
“Verb will be using microbes as a way to deliver beneficial molecules into the gut or to ‘bio-transform’ food substrates into substances our body needs. People are not getting what they can from their food and, for a variety of reasons, we absorb a fraction of the available nutrients in our diet,” said Todd Beckman, Verb advisor and former founder of probiotic company Goodbelly Probiotics. “Gut microbiome science repeatedly points to the population of microbes in the gut as a major actor in many aspects of wellness, from actual ability to extract nutrients, to secreting neurotransmitters that affect mood, satiety/obesity, immune system function and more.”
Ginkgo has significant expertise in the discovery and design of microbes for a wide array of functions. Verb Biotics plans to leverage Ginkgo’s high-throughput platform to perform sequencing, proteomics and metabolomics analysis, pathway design, cell culturing, and fermentation to improve the design and development of probiotics. Verb joins other Ginkgo Bioworks Platform Ventures such as Joyn Bio, Motif FoodWorks, Allonnia, and Ayana Bio. Motif FoodWorks recently raised a $226 million Series B round led by Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and BlackRock.
“We are really happy to be able to build on our microbial codebase and add to our deep capabilities that will help nutrition and food players diversify their probiotic solutions across the consumer space,” said Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo. “Together, we hope Ginkgo and Verb can unlock the benefits of gut microbes with precision and specificity to truly deliver on the promise of microbes for human health.”
Verb is launching with $30 million in Series A funding provided by Viking Global Investors and Cascade Investment.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company’s platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. In May 2021, Ginkgo announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SRNG), which, if completed, will result in Ginkgo, through a parent entity, Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings, Inc., becoming a public company. The extraordinary general meeting of Soaring Eagle’s shareholders in connection with the transaction has been scheduled for September 14, 2021 and the transaction is expected to close shortly thereafter, subject to customary closing conditions. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.
About Verb Biotics
Verb is a probiotics innovation company that identifies and designs new probiotic bacteria with advanced properties for human nutrition, health, and wellness. We use Ginkgo Bioworks‘ cell engineering platform with the goal of improving overall human health through probiotics technology that provides consumers a positive “I feel the effect” experience. Please visit www.verbbiotics.com for more information.
Additional Legal Information
Forward-Looking Statements Legend
This document contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws with respect to the proposed transaction between Ginkgo and Soaring Eagle, including statements regarding the anticipated timing of the transaction, the services offered by Ginkgo and the markets in which it operates, and Ginkgo’s projected future results. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “potential,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “strategy,” “future,” “opportunity,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “will be,” “will continue,” “will likely result,” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this document, including but not limited to: (i) the risk that the transaction may not be completed in a timely manner or at all, which may adversely affect the price of Soaring Eagle’s securities, (ii) the risk that the transaction may not be completed by Soaring Eagle’s business combination deadline and the potential failure to obtain an extension of the business combination deadline if sought by Soaring Eagle, (iii) the failure to satisfy the conditions to the consummation of the transaction, including the adoption of the agreement and plan of merger by the shareholders of Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo, the satisfaction of the minimum trust account amount following redemptions by Soaring Eagle’s public shareholders and the receipt of certain governmental and regulatory approvals, (iv) the lack of a third party valuation in determining whether or not to pursue the proposed transaction, (v) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstance that could give rise to the termination of the agreement and plan of merger, (vi) the effect of the announcement or pendency of the transaction on Ginkgo business relationships, performance, and business generally, (vii) risks that the proposed transaction disrupts current plans of Ginkgo and potential difficulties in Ginkgo employee retention as a result of the proposed transaction, (viii) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Ginkgo or against Soaring Eagle related to the agreement and plan of merger or the proposed transaction, (ix) the ability to maintain the listing of Soaring Eagle’s securities on Nasdaq, (x) volatility in the price of Soaring Eagle’s securities due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo’s business and changes in the combined capital structure, (xi) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations after the completion of the proposed transaction, and identify and realize additional opportunities, and (xii) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the “Risk Factors” section of Soaring Eagle’s proxy statement/prospectus relating to the transaction (the “Proxy Statement”), and in Soaring Eagle’s other filings with the SEC. Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo caution that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo caution readers not to place undue reliance upon any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. Neither Soaring Eagle nor Ginkgo undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.
Additional Information and Where to Find It
This document relates to a proposed transaction between Ginkgo and Soaring Eagle. This document does not constitute an offer to sell or exchange, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or exchange, any securities, nor shall there be any sale of securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, sale or exchange would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. In connection with the proposed transaction, Soaring Eagle filed a Proxy Statement on August 13, 2021. The Proxy Statement has been sent to all Soaring Eagle shareholders as of the record date of August 10, 2021. Soaring Eagle also will file other documents regarding the proposed transaction with the SEC. Before making any voting decision, investors and security holders of Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo are urged to read the registration statement, the proxy statement/prospectus and all other relevant documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC in connection with the proposed transaction as they become available because they will contain important information about the proposed transaction.
Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the proxy statement/prospectus and all other relevant documents filed or that will be filed with the SEC by Soaring Eagle through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, the documents filed by Soaring Eagle may be obtained free of charge by written request to Soaring Eagle at 955 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10075, Attention: Eli Baker, Chief Financial Officer, (310) 209-7280.
Participants in Solicitation
Soaring Eagle and Ginkgo and their respective directors and officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Soaring Eagle’s shareholders in connection with the proposed transaction. Information about Soaring Eagle’s directors and executive officers and their ownership of Soaring Eagle’s securities is set forth in Soaring Eagle’s filings with the SEC. To the extent that holdings of Soaring Eagle’s securities have changed since the amounts printed in Soaring Eagle’s proxy statement, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding the interests of those persons and other persons who may be deemed participants in the proposed transaction may be obtained by reading the proxy statement/prospectus regarding the proposed transaction when it becomes available. You may obtain free copies of these documents as described in the preceding paragraph.
SOURCE Ginkgo Bioworks0