Ginkgo Bioworks Announces Three Acquisitions

February 28, 2024

By Bio-IT World Staff 

February 28, 2024 | Ginkgo Bioworks announced three acquisitions today: Reverie Labs, Proof Diagnostics, and Patch Biosciences. The acquisitions will expand Ginkgo’s capabilities for large-scale AI foundation models, its library of RNA programmable, non-Cas enzymes, and its machine learning models and downstream assays.

The first acquisition target, Reverie Labs, built and used AI/ML tools to accelerate drug discovery. Ginkgo will acquire Reverie’s infrastructure and software for training large-scale AI foundation models and four of Reverie’s key AI team members will join Ginkgo. The acquisition is intended to strengthen Ginkgo’s AI/ML-driven discovery services offering and to accelerate Ginkgo’s work to build next-generation biological foundation models. Reverie’s generative AI for chemistry platform will also be added into Ginkgo’s capabilities to support small molecule programs.

The second company, Proof Diagnostics, uncovered genome engineering tools for both therapeutic and diagnostics applications while developing a smart, portable system for the detection of infectious and other diseases. Proof was founded by gene editing pioneer Dr. Feng Zhang of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Drs. Omar Abudayyeh and Jonathan Gootenberg of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, and Sid Shenai to develop a low cost, rapid, easy-to-use, and sensitive diagnostic system using CRISPR-based and other technologies. Proof’s libraries of OMEGA (Obligate Mobile Element Guided Activity)—RNA programmable, non-Cas enzymes and associated intellectual property—are the key focus of Ginkgo’s acquisition. Ginkgo is primarily using Proof’s OMEGA libraries to bolster its Gene Therapy Services, providing its customers another tool to more easily edit genes and build the next generation of therapies.

Finally, Ginkgo has acquired Patch Biosciences, which has built an AI platform for sequence design that enables more effective, specific, and durable genetic medicines. Ginkgo will incorporate Patch’s machine learning models and downstream assays into its existing platform, making new capabilities in synthetic promoter and untranslated region (UTR) engineering available to partners. Additionally, Patch’s validated muscle promoters and robust RNA UTRs complement Ginkgo’s circular RNA and promoter screening platform technology, which is already accelerating customer program progress. The acquisition is intended to strengthen Ginkgo’s Gene Therapy Services, Cell Therapy Services, and RNA Therapeutics Services. 

R&D Services Model 

Ginkgo does not have a product portfolio or drug pipeline. Instead, Ginkgo provides R&D services to customers who are looking to innovate across industries, including many world-class partners in biopharma building on its foundries, automated and scalable biological factories, and Codebase, its biological portfolio of cells, enzymes, and genetic programs. 

Last August, the company announced a five-year cloud and AI partnership with Google Cloud to build a next generation AI platform for biological engineering and biosecurity. Ginkgo has been working to develop state-of-the-art large language models (LLMs) running on Google Cloud's Vertex AI platform across genomics, protein function, and synthetic biology.