Ginkgo Bioworks to Develop Pioneering Biointelligence and Biosecurity Innovations in Collaboration with IARPA
Biotech Deals Partnerships

Ginkgo Bioworks to Develop Pioneering Biointelligence and Biosecurity Innovations in Collaboration with IARPA

Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), a leading cell programming and biosecurity company, has recently been granted a research contract by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). The contract will facilitate the development of a revolutionary biosensor, aiming to bolster biosecurity through the Biointelligence and Biosecurity for the Intelligence Community (B24IC) program.

As part of this contract, Ginkgo Bioworks will focus on developing a unique biosensor capable of recording and storing time-ordered gene expression data within microbial genomes. This innovative sensor could potentially reconstruct the exposure history of a microbe, allowing for unprecedented traceability in lab conditions and processes.

Conceptualized as a cellular “flight recorder,” the sensor will function as a synthetic memory device. It will register cellular histories, aiding investigations into cell origin, attributions, and specific uses, including exposure to varying temperatures and contact with other substances. Ginkgo’s cutting-edge computational design abilities, alongside their expertise in protein design and engineering, will play a pivotal role in creating this genomically integrated DNA-recording system.

Dr. Michael Patterson, the B24IC Program Manager, emphasized the importance of advancing biosecurity. He stated, “The rapid proliferation of biotechnology stands to pose new national security risks that the Intelligence Community will need to counter and mitigate. B24IC could boost our approach to biointelligence and biosecurity far beyond our current understanding—years or decades into the future.”

This announcement comes as an extension of Ginkgo’s ongoing partnership with IARPA. Their previous collaborative effort, the Finding Engineering-Linked Indicators (FELIX) program, resulted in the development of a novel computational platform for detecting genetic engineering, known as ENDAR (Engineered Nucleotide Detection and Ranking).

Expressing his enthusiasm for the project, Ginkgo Bioworks’ CEO and co-founder, Jason Kelly, stated, “This project is a milestone for Ginkgo in its growing role as a trusted biosecurity partner to the U.S. government. We’re excited to develop biosecurity innovations that have the potential to both keep us safe and drive innovation in responsible bioengineering.”

The research will be supported in part by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and IARPA via N66001-23-C-4509. The views and conclusions presented are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policies of the ODNI, IARPA, or the U.S. Government.

Image provided by Ginkgo Bioworks

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