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Ginkgo Bioworks, Co-Founded by Siebel Scholar Austin Che, Secures $100 Million in Series C Funding

ARTICLE BY: Sarah Buhr

TechCrunch

June 8th 2016

The Boston-based biotech startup, which makes all sorts of scents and flavors from microbugs, has pulled in $100 million in Series C funding to obtain 600 million base pairs of manufactured DNA – or what Ginkgo claims is the “largest amount of synthetic DNA ever purchased.”

Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design copmany, was founded in 2008 by Tom Knight, a world-renowned computer scientist, and MIT biological engineering PhDs Jason Kelly, Reshma Shetty, Barry Canton and Austin Che (Stanford CS, ’01). 

The startup plans to use the millions of genetic base pairs to test its production metal in new areas such as “commodity chemicals, industrial enzymes, and human health markets.” The company’s organism engineers work directly with customers, including Fortune 500 companies, to design microbes for their specific needs. 

This new form of biotech (read – not pharmaceutical manufacturing) started heating up in 2014, as production costs dramatically dropped and Ginkgo was one of YC’s first biotech startup investments and still faces few competitors, including West Coast counterpart Zymergen, which has raised $45 million to date, to mass produce consumer materials by manipulating microbial DNA.

The new funds will be used to help fuel the company’s growth into new markets, such as commodity chemicals, industrial enzymes and human health markets, as well as to build its next-generation automated foundry, Bioworks2, where Ginkgo’s organism engineers can develop new designs at massive scale.

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