Pfizer does $331 million deal with Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks has announced a collaboration with Pfizer focused on the discovery of RNA-based drug candidates.  

In the collaboration, Pfizer will leverage Ginkgo’s proprietary RNA technology to advance the discovery and development of novel RNA molecules across priority research areas. Ginkgo will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive research fees and development and commercial milestone payments, up to an aggregate total of $331 million across three programmes. Ginkgo is entitled to potential further downstream value in the form of royalties on sales. 

Ginkgo’s RNA technology combines high-throughput screening of the behaviour of RNA constructs with a multi-parameter design framework to identify novel natural and synthetic elements optimal for a particular application. Ginkgo will deploy these capabilities with the goal of achieving efficient production, circularisation, improved stability, and enhanced translation of each RNA construct. 

“RNA therapeutics are proving to be an important platform to advance the world of scientific innovation, and with progress in synthetic biology we have the potential to create new RNA treatments that may benefit patients worldwide,” said Will Somers, Head of Biomedicine Design at Pfizer. “Access to Ginkgo’s proprietary platform will help enable Pfizer to search for novel and exciting RNA constructs with improved stability and expression that could lead to more effective treatments.” 

“Billions of patients around the world have already benefited from advances in RNA-based technologies. We’re thrilled to be able to help enable the discovery and development of novel drugs using this powerful modality by applying our platform technologies, which are designed to programme RNA for maximum therapeutic effect,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. “Ginkgo’s approach enables and accelerates discovery across different disease areas and modalities for our partners, who bring deep expertise in drug development. We can’t wait to leverage our broad and deep RNA Codebase and deploy our Foundry to enable the era of programmable medicines with the Pfizer team.” 

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