Ginkgo tees up its next acquisition just days after inking $2.5B SPAC deal

Barely a week after striking a $2.5 billion special purpose acquisition company deal to go public, Ginkgo Bioworks is going international. In its first move to extend its operations beyond the U.S., the synthetic biology player is acquiring Dutch DNA Biotech, a contract manufacturing organization that makes enzymes, proteins and organic acids using its fungus-based technology. 

Under the deal, Ginkgo will acquire 100% of the Utrecht, Netherlands-based company through a combination of cash and equity, the company said in a statement. “Certain stakeholders” of Dutch DNA will also collect payments later on if the company meets certain technical and commercialization goals, Ginkgo said. It shared no financial details about the deal, which is slated to close in July. 

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Ginkgo will absorb Dutch DNA’s team, assets and operations into its broader cell engineering platform. The Dutch company has developed strains of filamentous fungi that can be used to produce proteins and enzymes for various industries. 

“We believe their expertise in developing and engineering these strains, combined with Ginkgo’s automated and high-throughput Foundry, will help us provide best-in-class production hosts to our customers developing protein and enzyme products unlike anything currently available on the market,” said Ginkgo CEO Jason Kelly in the statement. 

“This technology could have applications across a wide range of industries, including more efficient and sustainable production of plant-based foods, low-energy laundry detergents, pharmaceutical manufacturing and more,” Kelly said. 

Boston-based Ginkgo set up shop in 2008 to develop a platform that makes it easier to engineer cells. At first, the company applied the platform to sectors outside of biopharma, but, as it raised more money, it started exploring the use of its technology in the drug development sector. 

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Over the years, it has added the likes of Roche and Moderna to its partners and, just last week, it struck a deal to go public with SPAC Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp.

The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter, will see Ginkgo gain $1.7 billion from the SPAC and another $775 million through a private financing. 

Ginkgo is far from the only biotech player to go public via a SPAC. Its deal comes three months after 23andMe inked a $3.5 billion deal with a SPAC launched by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and nine months after central nervous system biotech Cerevel Therapeutics joined with a SPAC set up by Perceptive Advisors. Other companies that have followed suit include synthetic lethality biotech Tango Therapeutics and Roivant Sciences.