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Ginkgo Bioworks Raises $45 Million; Boston-Based Synthetic Biology Start-Up Designs Organisms to Produce Flavors, Fragrances, Cosmetics, and Sweeteners; Plans to Expand into Pharmaceuticals and Probiotics

Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company, today (July 23, 2015)announced that it has raised $45 million in an oversubscribed Series B round. Viking Global, a firm managing more than $30 billion in capital, led the round along with previous investors including OS Fund, Y Combinator and Felicis Ventures. The new funds will be used to expand into new categories such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and probiotics, as well as hire additional employees and build out Bioworks 2, the next generation of Ginkgo’s robotic Foundry. “Ginkgo Bioworks was our first-ever biotech investment and was part of the Y Combinator class of 2014,” said Sam Altman, President at Y Combinator. “Synthetic biology is one of the fastest growing areas of tech right now and Ginkgo is leading the category. We're excited to invest again in the company." Ginkgo Bioworks is at the intersection of industrial design and biology, delivering designer organisms built to specification for customers. The company specializes in engineering microbes to produce cultured ingredients such as flavors, fragrances, cosmetics, and sweeteners. The company’s foundry, Bioworks1, employs proprietary software and robotics to streamline the design, construction, and testing of engineered organisms. “This new financing allows us to further expand into real-world products in the nutrition, health, and consumer goods sectors, as well as add to our world-class team of engineers and designers,” said Jason Kelly, Co-Founder, Ginkgo Bioworks. “We’re excited to have top investors like Viking, OS Fund, Y Combinator, and Felicis to support our efforts and continued growth.” Ginkgo currently has more than 20 organism design contracts with customers, including Fortune 500 companies. These projects include developing organic pesticides with an agriculture company, sweeteners for a major beverage company, and rose oils for a French fragrance company, Robertet.

“Synthetic biology is the next frontier for manufacturing, engineering and medicine,” said Bryan Johnson, Founder of OS Fund. “Ginkgo Bioworks has strong momentum in meeting customer needs and is emerging as a leader in this exciting and critical new industry.”

Gingko Bioworks is an organism design company that is building organisms to spec for customers across markets including food, health and consumer goods. The company’s organism engineers work directly with customers to design microbes for their specific needs.

The company was founded in 2008 by Tom Knight, a world-renowned computer scientist, as well as by MIT biological engineering school graduates Jason Kelly, Reshma Shetty, Barry Canton, and Austin Che.

Ginkgo Bioworks is based in Boston and is financially backed by Viking Global, Felicis Ventures, OS Fund, and Y Combinator, as well as a by a number of angel investors and funds.

[Press release] [Ginkgo Bioworks]

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