Ginkgo Bioworks to collaborate with Merck to improve biologic manufacturing

Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building a platform for cell programming and biosecurity, has formed a new collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, focused on improving biologic manufacturing.

Ginkgo will apply its expertise and capabilities in cell engineering, ultra high-throughput multiplexed screening, protein characterization and process optimization to improve production efficiency and increase yields.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Ginkgo is eligible to receive, in aggregate, up to $490 million in upfront research fees, research milestone fees, option license payments and commercial milestone payments.

“We’re thrilled to leverage our platform to improve the production of biologics in collaboration with Merck,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. “In particular, we will utilize some of our unique capabilities, such as automated protocols to do predictive ultra high-throughput multiplexed screening, product characterization and process optimization. It’s exciting for our team to drive impactful and technically innovative work, and to do so shoulder-to-shoulder with our counterparts at Merck.”

“At Merck we are always seeking new and innovative ways to optimize process efficiency while maintaining product integrity,” said Dr. Michael Kress, senior vice president, development sciences and clinical supply, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are pleased to build upon our relationship with the Ginkgo Bioworks team.”

This is the second collaboration between Ginkgo and Merck. In October 2022, the companies announced a biocatalysis project to improve Merck’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing.

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