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Ginkgo Bioworks, Which Prints DNA And Creates Genetically Modified Food, Exploring SPAC Deal: Report

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Ginkgo Bioworks, Which Prints DNA And Creates Genetically Modified Food, Exploring SPAC Deal: Report

One of the largest SPACs seeking a target could be nearing a $20 billion deal to bring one of the largest privately-held biotechnology companies public.

The SPAC Rumor: Bloomberg reports Ginkgo Bioworks is in talks with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp (NASDAQ: SRNGU), a SPAC led by Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky. The duo has completed several SPAC deals including DraftKings Inc (NASDAQ: DKNG) and Skillz Inc (NYSE: SKLZ).

Ginkgo was valued at $4 billion in a 2019 funding round, according to Bloomberg. Soaring Eagle raised over $1.5 billion in its offering and currently trades as units.

About Ginkgo: Ginkgo operates in several business segments that could offer growth in many fields. The company was founded in 2009 by a group of MIT scientists. Ginkgo was started as a company that prints DNA that can be used to kill antibiotic-resistant germs, produce artificial sweeteners, create genetically modified food and create cheaper perfume.

Ginkgo is a biology by design company, according to its website.

“We program cells to make everything from food to materials to therapeutics,” the company said.

Ginkgo Bioworks was featured in a "60 Minutes" segment showing the company optimizing the manufacturing process for RNA, a key ingredient in COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA).

Concentric by Ginkgo is a public health and biosecurity segment. The business segment is actively supporting several COVID-19 response efforts including community testing, tracing and vaccine developments. Concentric is offering pooled testing for over 800 schools in the U.S. currently with plans to grow.

Joyn Bio is a joint venture with Bayer. The companies launched a $100 million partnership in 2017. Together the companies are looking to synthesize microbes to allow crops like corn, wheat and rice to produce their own fertilizer. The fertilizer market is $250 billion, according to the companies. The joint venture leverages Bayer’s expertise in plant biologics and Ginkgo’s foundry advantage to revolutionize agriculture.

Motif Foodworks was launched in 2017 after seeing the success of Impossible Foods, Ginkgo CEO Jason Kelley said. Motif is seeking to change the future of food with plant-based food, meat alternatives and dairy alternatives. Motif operates as a separate company that has found outside investors. Scientists estimate the world population will rise to 9.6 billion people by 2050 which could lead to an increase of 70% more food consumed.

Gingko has partnerships with Twist Bioscience Corp (NASDAQ: TWST), Berkeley Lights Inc (NASDAQ: BLI), Roche and Cronos Group Inc (NASDAQ: CRON).

Related Link: 3 Undervalued SPAC Picks From The SPAC Guru

Strong Investors: Among the investors in Ginkgo Bioworks are T Rowe Price and Bill Gates. Baillie Gifford and Illumina Inc (NASDAQ: ILMN) are also investors in Ginkgo.

The company’s Motif Foodworks subsidiary saw some strong investors in 2017 from a Series A round. Breakthrough Energy Ventures invested in the round. Members of Breakthrough Energy Ventures include Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Ray Dalio, Reid Hoffman, Jack Ma and Masayoshi Son.

Shares of Soaring Eagle Acquisition are up 4% to $10.69 on Friday. 

Disclosure: The author is long shares of SRNGU.

 

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