Ginkgo Bioworks Acquires Circularis to Strengthen Capabilities in Cell and Gene Therapy

BOSTON, Oct. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced the tuck-in acquisition of Circularis, a biotechnology company with a proprietary circular RNA and promoter screening platform. When circularized, RNA is much longer-lived in cells, improving its robustness as a potential therapeutic modality. The Circularis platform also allows ultra-high-throughput screening of promoters and other enhancers. Ginkgo is excited to welcome the Circularis team and platform to enable new solutions across bioproduction, RNA therapeutics, cell therapy, and gene therapy partnerships.

(PRNewsfoto/Ginkgo Bioworks)
(PRNewsfoto/Ginkgo Bioworks)

In recent years, Ginkgo has significantly expanded its work in cell and gene therapy, including a program to improve adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing in partnership with Biogen, and a program to develop AAV capsids with altered tropism and immunogenicity in partnership with Selecta Biosciences. The field of nucleic acid therapeutics is a promising novel therapeutic modality, and Ginkgo has worked on programs across the space, including with Moderna and Aldevron, and is actively engaged in improving circular RNA efficacy and manufacturing yields.

The Circularis platform strengthens Ginkgo's platform for development of cell and gene therapies, providing the capability to rapidly identify novel promoters with appropriate strength and tissue-specificity designed into customer specific delivery modalities. Leveraging Ginkgo's ability to explore large numbers of genetic designs, these promoter libraries can be explored in combination with modified therapeutic payloads and capsids to provide gene therapy developers a solution that works across any range of cell or organism models. Similarly, the Circularis platform will give Ginkgo the ability to rapidly identify context-specific promoters for cell therapy applications, such as those that modulate gene expression in the tumor microenvironment.

"Circularis has built an exceptional platform to screen gene expression regulatory elements, a need across the cell and gene therapy space," said Narendra Maheshri, Head of Mammalian Foundry at Ginkgo Bioworks. "We are excited to leverage the strong expertise of the Circularis team to further develop circular RNA methods for therapeutic use, and can't wait to incorporate this technology into existing and upcoming cell programs across therapeutic applications as well as more broadly."

"Circularis was founded because we saw a need for better tools to control gene regulation in a range of species. Our team is incredibly proud of what we've built, and the opportunity to scale it on the Ginkgo platform means we're a major step closer to realizing this technology's potential," said Mat Falkowski, Chief Executive Officer at Circularis. "We are excited to bring the power of the Ginkgo platform to both Circularis' already existing customer base and future partners."

About Circularis

Circularis has been using the power of circRNA to control cells for the past eight years. Our novel biology has enabled new scales of experimental methods to help customers make advancements in gene therapy and treatment of rare diseases. Our advanced understanding of circular RNA across multiple cell types and organisms has guided our design towards a range of novel circular RNA materials for use in the growing field of RNA therapeutics.

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit www.ginkgobioworks.com.

Forward-Looking Statements of Ginkgo Bioworks

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the potential success of the acquisition and Ginkgo's cell programming platform. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "believe," "can," "project," "potential," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "strategy," "future," "opportunity," "plan," "may," "should," "will," "would," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to: (i) the effect of Ginkgo's business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. ("Soaring Eagle") on Ginkgo's business relationships, performance, and business generally, (ii) risks that the business combination disrupts current plans of Ginkgo and potential difficulties in Ginkgo's employee retention, (iii) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Ginkgo related to its business combination with Soaring Eagle, (iv) volatility in the price of Ginkgo's securities now that it is a public company due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo operates and plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business and changes in the combined capital structure, (v) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations after the completion of the business combination, and identify and realize additional opportunities, (vi) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology, (vii) the unpredictability of the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for COVID-19 testing and the commercial viability of our COVID-19 testing business, (viii) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations, and (ix) our ability to close and realize the expected benefits of pending merger and acquisition transactions. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors" section of Ginkgo's quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on August 15, 2022 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Ginkgo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Ginkgo does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.

GINKGO BIOWORKS INVESTOR CONTACT:
investors@ginkgobioworks.com

GINKGO BIOWORKS MEDIA CONTACT:
press@ginkgobioworks.com

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SOURCE Ginkgo Bioworks