BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company, today announced that it has raised $9 million in a Series A round from Felicis Ventures, OS Fund, Data Collective, iGlobe Partners and Vast Ventures. The company was part of Y Combinator's Summer 2014 class and was the first biotech startup to participate in Y Combinator's accelerator program.
"Lab work that previously required an army of PhDs is now being automated and scaled in our foundry."
Ginkgo Bioworks also announced the opening of its new 18,000 square-foot, automated organism engineering foundry, Bioworks1. Bioworks1 uses robotics and advanced software to make the process of engineering organisms scalable. The company used their new investment round to complete the construction of Bioworks1 and will use the funding to operate the foundry to deliver organisms to customers. They have already begun the design of their next-generation foundry, Bioworks2, slated for construction in early 2017.
"Ginkgo is at the intersection of industrial design and biology. Today, our organism engineers work directly with customers to design microbes for their specific needs in the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors, but our technology can be applied to a multitude of industries," said Jason Kelly, Co-founder, Ginkgo Bioworks. "Lab work that previously required an army of PhDs is now being automated and scaled in our foundry."
Ginkgo Bioworks specializes in engineering microbes to produce cultured ingredients, such as flavors, fragrances, cosmetics, and nutritional ingredients. The company has secured 20 organism design contracts to date with customers including Fortune 500 companies.
"Biology will be one of the most defining and revolutionary technologies of the coming decades and will reinvent multiple industries from healthcare to energy," said Bryan Johnson, Founder, OS Fund. "Ginkgo Bioworks has a world-class team of engineers building the tools and infrastructure that will allow us to use biology to address global challenges for generations to come."
Ginkgo previously secured over $15 million in contracts from DARPA and other advanced research government agencies to fund the development and successful demonstration of their foundry's core technology such as automating the writing of DNA code.
"At Felicis Ventures, we invest in companies with groundbreaking frontier technologies and we believe Ginkgo has developed and de-risked a tool chain that begins to make designing biology as easy as writing software," said Aydin Senkut, Founder and Managing Director, Felicis Ventures.
Ginkgo Bioworks was founded in 2008 by Tom Knight, a renowned computer scientist and the "godfather" of synthetic biology, along with MIT graduates Jason Kelly, Reshma Shetty, Barry Canton and Austin Che.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Ginkgo Bioworks is an organism design company that is building organisms to spec for customers across markets including nutrition, health and consumer goods. The company's organism engineers work directly with customers including Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for their specific needs. The company was founded in 2008 by Tom Knight, a world-renowned computer scientist, as well as MIT engineering PhD graduates Jason Kelly, Reshma Shetty, Barry Canton and Austin Che. Ginkgo Bioworks is based in Boston and is financially backed by Felicis Ventures, OS Fund, Data Collective, Y Combinator, iGlobe Partners, and Vast Ventures as well as other angel investors and funds.