In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media through its wire service.
BOSTON – Ginkgo Bioworks, a horizontal platform for cell programming, today announced the acquisition of Project Beacon COVID-19 LLC (Project Beacon), a Boston-based social benefit organization focused on helping to increase the capacity, availability, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 testing.
Under the terms of the deal, Ginkgo acquired Project Beacon’s assets and will assume responsibility for Project Beacon’s ongoing operations, providing COVID-19 monitoring tools to communities in Massachusetts and other areas.
“As we embark on a new wave of the pandemic and grapple with the spread of the Omicron variant, large-scale testing will be critical to help keep kids in schools and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Matt McKnight, Chief Commercial Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks, who is leading Ginkgo’s public health and biosecurity efforts. “Integrating Project Beacon’s capabilities with our Concentric by Ginkgo offering will enable us to further empower communities in Massachusetts and beyond with the tools they need to make important public health decisions.”
Throughout the pandemic, Ginkgo has supported widespread COVID-19 monitoring through its biosecurity and public health initiative, Concentric by Ginkgo. Today, Concentric provides COVID-19 monitoring services for over 280,000 individuals per week through its programs in K-12 schools, correctional facilities, airports, and other community settings. Concentric conducted over 3 million tests in the second half of 2021.
Concentric and Project Beacon share a common goal of making COVID-19 testing accessible to the communities that need it the most. With this acquisition, Concentric will integrate Project Beacon’s partner and customer relationships, digital platform, and several key personnel into its broader efforts.
Project Beacon was launched by F-Prime Capital, GV, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to help organizations in Massachusetts and its surrounding areas implement affordable and accessible COVID-19 testing, with a focus on serving public needs and promoting equitable access. Since then, Project Beacon has partnered with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Health, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Executive Office of Technology Services and Security to serve the state’s residents through its Express COVID-19 Testing Sites, K-12 testing platform, and online service that lists COVID-19 vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts. Project Beacon has also supported testing efforts for dozens of other organizations, including schools, universities, congregate care providers, and employers. In total, Project Beacon has completed more than 1.5 million tests for members of its community.
“The mission of Project Beacon has always been to support Massachusetts residents by providing low-cost, convenient testing,” said Muz Mansuri, Executive Director of Project Beacon and Venture Partner at F-Prime Capital. “We have no profit motive, and we didn’t seek capital return in this transaction. We supported this combination with Concentric by Ginkgo because we believe it will allow us to serve more people around the state and nation. We are excited to continue providing these critical services to all those we currently work with and hope to further expand community access with the added reach of Concentric.”
Concentric is building a next-generation biosecurity and public health platform with the aim of providing pathogen biomonitoring at scale. This acquisition is an important step towards that goal. Concentric’s lab network currently has enough contracted and validated labs to serve tens of millions of individuals with pooled tests every week, and Concentric stands ready to further invest to expand its biosecurity and public health efforts.
Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company’s platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization, and therapeutics discovery.