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Ginkgo Bioworks and Elanco launch animal health company BiomEdit


  • US synthetic biology company Ginkgo Bioworks and Elanco Animal Health Incorporated are launching a “microbiome innovation” company that will develop microbiome-based products and services for improved animal health.
  • The new company, called BiomEdit, will discover, produce and innovate on novel probiotics, bioactive molecules, engineered microbial medicines and microbial monitoring services for farmers, veterinarians, and others working animal health areas. 
  • BiomEdit secured early backing from Viking Global Investors and Anterra Capital and is targeting a $40 million Series A raise. 

Why it matters

Animal health and wellbeing are increasingly in the spotlight, particularly in light of the ongoing avian influenza outbreak ravaging commercial poultry operations in the US. 

Elanco has a decades-long history of developing products to improve pet and livestock health. It first announced its plan to create its microbiome platform and pipeline in 2021.

For BiomEdit, Elanco will contribute intellectual property and programs, as well as staff from the Elanco R&D team. Biotech specialist Ginkgo will help scale the process through its cell-programming platform, which uses synthetic biology, genetic engineering, software, robotics and data analytics to engineer microbes.

The new company will target medicated feed ingredients, nutritional health and therapeutics for livestock and pet species, and biosecurity technology for animal disease monitoring. By combining their efforts, Elanco and Ginkgo hope to advance innovations in animal health by leveraging on the microbial communities in animals and their environments. 

“Livestock producers and veterinarians are calling for new products that address antibiotic resistance and improve livestock sustainability,” said Aaron Schacht, former Elanco executive vice president of innovation and BiomEdit’s new CEO.

He added: “Coupling the platform, pipeline and deep expertise of the former Elanco microbiome team with Ginkgo’s unique screening and strain engineering capabilities will accelerate and amplify our ability to advance novel animal microbiome inspired products for animal health.”

BiomEdit is the latest platform venture for Boston-based Ginkgo; others include Joyn Bio, Motif FoodWorks, Allonnia, and Arcaea, among others.

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