Ginkgo Bioworks, a company at the forefront of cell programming and biosecurity, has unveiled a fresh partnership with Merck, recognised as MSD beyond the borders of the US and Canada. This collaboration is specifically dedicated to the enhancement of biologic manufacturing processes.

Leveraging its extensive knowledge and capabilities in cell engineering, ultra-high-throughput multiplexed screening, protein characterisation, and process optimisation, Ginkgo aims to enhance production efficiency and augment yields within biologic manufacturing.

As per the agreement’s terms, Ginkgo stands to potentially receive a cumulative amount of up to $490 million. This compensation encompasses upfront research fees, research milestone fees, option license payments, and commercial milestone payments.

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

“In particular, we will utilise some of our unique capabilities, such as automated protocols to do predictive ultra-high-throughput multiplexed screening, product characterisation and process optimisation. 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.”

Merck Research Laboratories development sciences and clinical supply senior vice president Dr Michael Kress said: “At Merck, we are always seeking new and innovative ways to optimize process efficiency while maintaining product integrity. We are pleased to build upon our relationship with the Ginkgo Bioworks team.”

This marks the second instance of collaboration between Ginkgo and Merck. Back in October 2022, the two companies revealed their joint venture in a biocatalysis project aimed at enhancing the manufacturing of Merck’s active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).