Ginkgo Bioworks says the acquisition of Swiss start-up FGen will significantly increase its cell screening capabilities.

Millie Nelson, Editor

March 21, 2022

2 Min Read
Ginkgo adds cell programming platform with FGen buy
Image: Stock Photo Secrets

Ginkgo Bioworks says the acquisition of Swiss start-up FGen will significantly increase its cell screening capabilities.  

The deal, of which specific financial details have not been disclosed, sees Ginkgo add FGen’s technology to its existing screening systems.

“Acquiring FGen substantially enhances Ginkgo’s platform by complementing our […] automation-powered high throughput arrayed screening systems,” Nikos Reppas, senior director of Foundry Technology at Ginkgo told BioProcess Insider.


Image: Stock Photo Secrets

“More specifically, FGen’s technology greatly widens […] our Design-Build-Test-Learn strain development cycle, allowing us to routinely take as input millions of genetic prototypes and to generate an output of hundreds to thousands of hits that can be further characterized and down-selected via our existing HT arrayed screening systems. In short, FGen’s platform significantly augments our strain screening capabilities.”

FGen’s screening platform is built on nanoliter reactor technology, which Ginkgo claims will enable the firm to explore wider areas of genetic opportunity space. In turn, increasing the likelihood of finding pathways, enzymes, and strains or cell lines that perform to customer and product specifications.

“The FGen platform can take a library of millions of genetic variants among the cell population and encapsulate the cells in so-called nanoliter reactors (NLRs) — basically tiny gelatinous spheres — such that a single cell, or a single genetic variant or clone, ends up in a single NLR. We can then grow that pool of seeded NLRs like we would a regular cell culture [so] that the single cells grow into clonal microcolonies, basically many genetic copies of the original cell,” said Reppas.

According to Reppas, the platform’s workflow provides Ginkgo with the potential to routinely take multiple genetic-design shots “on goal.” Additionally, FGen’s platform is flexible across pathways, target products, and organisms and can accommodate various cell types, including filamentous specious.

FGen employees will join Ginkgo’s team and will remain located at their facility in Basel, Switzerland.

About the Author(s)

Millie Nelson

Editor, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering global biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing news and host of the Voices of Biotech podcast.

I am currently living and working in London but I grew up in Lincolnshire (UK) and studied in Newcastle (UK).

Got a story? Feel free to email me at [email protected]

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