Ginkgo Bioworks has entered a new partnership with Merck (MSD) to bolster biologic manufacturing.

Ginkgo will offer its cell engineering, protein characterisation, process streamlining and ultra-high-throughput multiplexed screening capabilities to enhance manufacturing efficiency and boost yields for biologics.

The company will receive $490m from MSD.

The sum comprises fees for upfront research and research milestones, as well as payments for option licensing and meeting commercial milestones.

Merck Research Laboratories development sciences and clinical supply senior vice-president Dr Michael Kress stated: “At Merck, we are always seeking new and innovative ways to optimise process efficiency while maintaining product integrity. 

“We are pleased to build upon our relationship with the Ginkgo BioWorks team.”

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The parties entered a partnership in October 2022 for a biocatalysis project to streamline MSD’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) production.

Ginkgo Bioworks CEO and co-founder Jason Kelly stated: “We’re thrilled to leverage our platform to improve the production of biologics in collaboration with Merck. 

“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.”

In May 2023, Ginkgo Bioworks partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim for the development of breakthrough therapies for conditions that are difficult to treat.