Ginkgo Bioworks improves automation in organism design using Transcriptic’s robotics software

Ginkgo Bioworks announced this week a collaboration with robotic cloud laboratory Transcriptic. Through a five year agreement valued at more than $10 million, Ginkgo will incorporate Transcriptic’s robotic automation software into its Boston-based foundries.

The combined technologies will bolster Ginkgo’s automation capabilities and engineering capacity, strengthening its platform and cementing a foundation for continued growth.

Ginkgo’s foundries currently rely on software and robotics to automate work on organism design across the flavor and fragrance, enzyme and agricultural industries. This collaboration builds upon Ginkgo’s existing platform, bringing Transcriptic’s unique expertise in flexible lab automation to supercharge designers’ efficiency.

Transcriptic’s software integration will automate new parts of Ginkgo’s experimental design process, adding greater flexibility and remote monitoring capabilities.

With this collaboration, Ginkgo will double its current monthly foundry output, increase the speed and efficiency of product delivery to existing customers, and establish a flexible platform that can better scale to meet the needs of the expanding biotech industry.

The collaboration will be foundational to a number of Ginkgo’s 2017 ventures and partnerships, including the work on a new company launched in partnership with Bayer.

Announced last month along with an initial $100M Series A investment, the new company will carry out its strain engineering operations from Ginkgo’s foundry, and will focus on microbial design to aid nitrogen fixation in certain plants.

Earlier this year, Ginkgo acquired synthetic DNA provider Gen9 to bring its technology for pathway-length synthesis in house, and announced the purchase of one billion base pairs of DNA from longtime partner Twist Bioscience. With the market share of synthetic DNA, Gen9’s DNA synthesis ability and Transcriptic’s software fully deployed on-site, Ginkgo continues its mission to build strong and robust platform for organism engineering.

“Transcriptic’s ability to translate organism designers’ vision into reality via lab automation is unparalleled, and brings an unprecedented scale to our organism foundry,” said Barry Canton, Ginkgo Bioworks co-founder. “Transcriptic shares our vision of leveraging the power of technology to transform lab experiments for more efficiency and scale. Automating the right processes allows our team to spend more time on what they do best: thoughtful design, analysis and delivery, so that together we can meet the continued demand from industries rethinking manufacturing with biology.”

This licensing agreement is the first of its kind for Transcriptic, and a significant expansion of its current business model. Transcriptic engineers will be on-premise at Ginkgo, working side by side with organism designers to improve efficiencies within Ginkgo’s foundries and further enhance the software together.

“The Transcriptic platform automates laborious lab processes to make research faster, less expensive and increasingly scalable,” said Yvonne Linney, Transcriptic CEO. “We look forward to bringing our technology to Ginkgo—a company at the forefront of organism design—in a completely new way, and build the future of biotech together.”


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