Ginkgo Bioworks Ginkgo Bioworks was founded by world-renowned computer scientist Tom Knight (center) along with MIT biological engineering PhDs Austin Che, Reshma Shetty, Jason Kelly (a featured speaker at SynBioBeta SF 2015), and Barry Canton (left to right).
Home » Emerging technologies » Organism engineering » Ginkgo Bioworks to Develop Designer Microbes for Ajinomoto

Ginkgo Bioworks to Develop Designer Microbes for Ajinomoto

Ginkgo Bioworks, a symbol of automated organism engineering within the synthetic biology community, announced today that they will develop designer microbes for Ajinomoto, a global manufacturer of foods, beverages, amino acids, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals. The partnership is part of Ginkgo’s plan to expand into new markets with broader commercial viability.

As we covered more extensively in our blog, Ginkgo is designing probiotic bacteria that keep your gut healthy, strains that produce cultured ingredients (such as fragrances, flavors, cosmetics and sweeteners), as well as microorganisms that convert single-carbon compounds into fuels and chemicals. The Boston-based company has raised $54 M this year to operate a next-generation biofoundry – and build a second one – that brings industrial efficiency to the microbial design cycle through the use of advanced software-integrated robots. The 18,000 square foot automated lab, Bioworks1, is outfitted with 20 robots focused on either design, construction or testing of engineered strains.

Ginkgo Bioworks
Organism designers at Ginkgo evaluate genetic designs that will then be built and tested in the adjacent organism foundry, Bioworks1.

With the new partnership, Ginkgo Bioworks will build designer microbes that manufacture specific ingredients that Ajinomoto seeks. The Japanese company will gain a competitive advantage by avoiding the need to conduct research in-house while at the same time obtaining ingredients at a lower price.

Before announcing a $9 million series A and $45 million series B this year, Ginkgo Bioworks received financial support from Y Combinator, and over $15 million in contracts from DARPA and other government agencies.

With the continued growth of companies like Ginkgo – the organism industry – we can imagine a future when most product companies like Ajinomoto will not build their own microorganisms, but obtain them from increasingly popular automated biofoundries.

Join us at SynBioBeta SF 2015 on the afternoon of Thursday, November 5th for a fireside chat between Jason Kelly, the CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks and Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator.


Marianna Limas

Marianna plays a critical role in displaying and communicating SynBioBeta’s message to the world. She manages SynBioBeta’s social media channels and newsletter, and works with the editorial, website, research and marketing teams.

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