The two companies will leverage Ginkgo's natural product discovery capabilities to accelerate the discovery and development of novel therapeutic molecules to address diseases with high unmet patient needs that are out of reach of conventional drug discovery.
Hundreds of millions of people are living with diseases that to date cannot be cured or are inadequately treated.
Breaking through this inertia requires, in many cases, the use of new techniques to act on molecular targets which are exceedingly difficult to address with traditional approaches.
More than half of all targets predicted to be involved in human disease are as of yet considered ‘undruggable’ for this reason.
Ginkgo and Boehringer Ingelheim will collaborate to mine Ginkgo's metagenomic sequence database, which provides access to structurally novel bioactive molecules. According to both companies, this could potentially enable the rapid identification of lead molecules as starting points for the discovery of novel treatments.
Under the terms of the partnership Ginkgo will receive upfront research fees and is eligible to receive success-based milestone payments for a specified number of projects up to an aggregate total of $406 million. Ginkgo is also entitled to potential further downstream value in the form of royalties on sales.
Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder at Ginkgo Bioworks, said: “Ginkgo is well-positioned to help partners like Boehringer Ingelheim complement their drug discovery efforts particularly when it comes to natural product discovery. We are thrilled to work with Boehringer Ingelheim leveraging our Foundry and Codebase to unlock new possibilities in biopharma innovation."