Persephone Biosciences Inc., a synthetic biology company reimagining patient health through the microbiome, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced the completion of their first collaboration together, a Bacteroides engineering toolkit. Under the collaboration, both Persephone and Ginkgo have access to this reusable toolkit. Persephone will utilize the technology to develop a pipeline of microbiome therapeutics, and Ginkgo can use the technology as part of its broader platform offering for future customers.
The technology comprises a set of generalizable genetic tools which can facilitate rapid Bacteroides engineering, including in the high-throughput anaerobic engineering context. Over the course of this collaboration, Ginkgo incorporated its flagship hardware and software workflows under an anaerobic blanket, meaningfully extending its cell engineering platform capabilities to perform productively in an anaerobic environment.
Ginkgo and Persephone announced in April 2022 that they would collaborate to develop novel microbiome products based on the bacterial genus Bacteroides, a promising vehicle for stable and long-term delivery of microbial products. Through this collaboration, a high-throughput anaerobic cell engineering platform has been developed. With it, Ginkgo designed and screened hundreds of promoters, shuttle vectors, ribosome binding sites, and terminators to characterize their efficiency and expression levels and selected parts across the expression range for the final toolkit.
While Persephone plans to utilize the Bacteroides technology for the rapid generation of therapeutics from its planned and ongoing oncology biomarker studies, Ginkgo may leverage the toolkit to address a wide range of customer needs and applications, including for customers developing microbiome based therapeutics.
“At Ginkgo, we are growing our network of partners and striving to provide a platform to all the innovators that have a vision of using biology to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” said Jennifer Wipf, Ginkgo’s Head of Commercial, Cell Engineering. “Continuous improvement to our platform is key, and together with Persephone’s expertise in the microbiome and with bacterial strains, we’ve improved yet another valuable offering in a therapeutic area of interest to many of our partners.”
“We’re delighted with the results of our collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks. The resulting technology offers us previously unimaginable inhouse scale, that promises to save us valuable time as we seek to rapidly generate therapeutics from our oncology biomarker studies, including our ongoing ARGONAUT trial,” said Stephanie Culler, co-founder and CEO of Persephone Biosciences. “This in turn could enable us to bring much-needed better health outcomes – across a range of cancer types – much sooner than would otherwise be possible.”