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Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE:DNA), the leading horizontal cell programming platform, today announced the acquisition of Project Beacon COVID-19 LLC (Project Beacon), a Boston-based social service organization focused on helping to increase the capacity, availability, accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 testing. Under the terms of the agreement, Ginkgo has acquired the assets of Project Beacon and will assume responsibility for Project Beacon’s ongoing operations, providing COVID-19 monitoring tools to communities in Massachusetts and other regions.
“As we embark on a new wave of the pandemic and tackle the spread of the Omicron variant, large-scale testing will be essential to help keep children in school and mitigate the spread of COVID- 19,” said Matt McKnight, chief commercial officer. Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks, which leads Ginkgo’s public health and biosecurity efforts. “Integrating Project Beacon capabilities into our Concentric by Ginkgo offering will allow 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 surveillance of COVID-19 through its biosecurity and public health initiative, Concentric by Ginkgo. Today, Concentric provides COVID-19 monitoring services to more than 280,000 people per week through its programs in K-12 schools, correctional facilities, airports and other community settings. Concentric performed over 3 million tests in the second half of 2021.
Concentric and Project Beacon share a common goal: to make COVID-19 testing accessible to the communities that need it most. With this acquisition, Concentric will integrate Project Beacon partner and customer relationships, the 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 and around Massachusetts implement affordable and accessible COVID-19 testing, with a focus on meeting 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 and Safety Services to serving state residents through its Express COVID-19 test. Sites, K-12 test platform and an online service which lists COVID-19 vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts. Project Beacon has also supported testing efforts for dozens of other organizations, including schools, universities, community care providers and employers. In total, Project Beacon has conducted more than 1.5 million tests for members of its community.
“Project Beacon’s mission has always been to support Massachusetts residents by providing convenient, low-cost testing,” said Muz Mansuri, Executive Director of Project Beacon and Venture Partner at F-Prime Capital. “We are non-profit and have not sought return on investment in this transaction. We supported this combination with Concentric by Ginkgo because we believe it will allow us to serve more people in the state. and the nation. We are excited to continue to provide these essential services to everyone we currently work with and look forward to further expanding community access with Concentric’s additional reach.”
Concentric is building a next-generation biosecurity and public health platform to deliver large-scale pathogen biomonitoring. This acquisition is an important step towards that goal. Concentric laboratory network currently has enough contracted and validated labs to serve tens of millions of people with pooled testing each week, and Concentric is ready to invest more to expand its biosecurity and public health efforts.