Ginkgo Bioworks, the biotech startup that’s genetically engineering microbes to make everything from fragrances to food, is ramping up production with a round of capital that values it at more than $1 billion.
The Boston company announced ... that it has raised the eye-popping sum of $275 million, meaning it’s raised a total of nearly $430 million. Its new status as a “unicorn,” or a privately held company valued at more than $1 billion, was first reported by Recode and confirmed by a company spokesperson.
Ginkgo tinkers with the DNA of tiny organisms, such as yeast, so they in turn produce a trait or ingredient desired by its clients. One example: For the French perfume company Robertet, Ginkgo synthetically developed a peach scent that can be bottled up in a fragrance.
This process has clear environmental and safety advantages, according to CEO Jason Kelly: It doesn’t require animal-testing or emit greenhouse gases.
“Biology is just a fundamentally better way to make stuff compared to traditional manufacturing,” Kelly, one of five Massachusetts of Institute Technology scientists who founded Ginkgo in 2008, told BuzzFeed News. “We shouldn’t be manufacturing products, we should be growing stuff.”
In addition to Robertet, Ginkgo has been hired by the US Department of Defense to create probiotics that would help soldiers stave off stomach bugs, and the food manufacturing companies Swissaustral and Kerry.
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