Foley Hoag Represents Ginkgo Bioworks in $144M Collaboration with Merck

October 12, 2022

Foley Hoag LLP represented Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. (NYSE: DNA), the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, in closing a collaboration agreement with Merck (NYSE: MRK), to engineer up to four enzymes for use as biocatalysts in Merck’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing efforts.

Through this collaboration, Ginkgo will leverage its extensive experience in cell engineering and enzyme design, as well as its capabilities in automated high throughput screening, manufacturing process development/optimization, bioinformatics and analytics to deliver optimal strains for expression of targeted biocatalysts.

Ginkgo is building a platform to make programming cells as easy as programming computers. The company’s platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Ginkgo will earn an upfront research and development fee and is eligible for success-based research and development milestone payments. In addition, Ginkgo is eligible to earn commercial milestone payments for each of a specified number of biocatalysis targets, which have the potential to total, in the aggregate, up to $144 million.

Foley Hoag attorneys Sarah Cooleybeck, Mark Potash and Anna Cardoso represented Ginkgo in the transaction, with assistance from Nicola Lemay.