GREENFIELD, IND. and BOSTON — On April 11, Elanco Animal Health and Ginkgo Bioworks, a platform for cell programming, partnered to launch BiomEdit, a microbiome innovation company. BiomEdit will develop probiotics, bioactive molecules and microbial medicines for the animal and pet health market.
According to Ginkgo Bioworks, microbiome science is a growing field that uses microbials in animals and their environments to develop innovations in animal health. BiomEdit will discover, develop and launch products that address animal health needs, including medicated food ingredients, nutritional health products and therapeutics for livestock and pets. The newly launched company also plans to offer biosecurity technology to monitor animal diseases.
BiomEdit is the result of Elanco’s plans to create its own microbiome platform, which the company announced in October 2021. To get the new company off the ground, Elanco and Gingko Bioworks partnered with Ferment Co., a company that helps ideate and launch new companies that use cell programming.
BiomEdit will rely on Elanco’s pipeline of animal programs and will be operated by a member of Elanco’s former microbiome R&D team. The team will build the foundation of BiomEdit with help from foundational programs from Elanco and intellectual property by Elanco and Ginkgo Bioworks.
Aaron Schacht, Elanco’s former executive vice president of innovation, regulatory and business development, will run the company as chief executive officer.
"Livestock producers and veterinarians are calling for new products that address antibiotic resistance and improve livestock sustainability," Schacht said. "Coupling the platform, pipeline and deep expertise of the former Elanco microbiome team with Ginkgo's unique screening and strain engineering capabilities will accelerate and amplify our ability to advance novel animal microbiome inspired products for animal health."
BiomEdit will also leverage Gingko Bioworks’ expertise in discovery, design and monitoring of microbes, as well as the company’s cell programming platform. The new company joins Gingko Biowork’s other ventures, including Joyn Bio, Motif FoodWorks, Allonnia, Arcaea, Verb Biotics and Ayana Bio.
"We are always on the lookout for opportunities to accelerate our partners' abilities to address massive challenges, such as antibiotic resistance in livestock," said Jason Kelly, chief executive officer of Ginkgo. "Together, we see Ginkgo and BiomEdit addressing significant opportunities in the animal health industry with new breakthroughs based on microbiome science. We deeply depend on the health of animals in our ecosystem and supply chains; the potential applications for our cell programming platform in this area are far reaching."
As well as receiving funding and support from Elanco and Ginkgo Bioworks, BiomEdit launched a Series A funding round, so far receiving $40 million in investments with participation from Viking Global Investors and Anterra Capital. Elanco and Ginkgo Bioworks plan to retain a combined 40% ownership of BiomEdit upon the completion of the Series A funding round.
"Elanco is excited to continue its participation in the microbiome by partnering with Ginkgo, Viking Global Investors and Anterra Capital to create the next-generation animal health innovation player," said Jeff Simmons, president and chief executive officer of Elanco Animal Health. "We wish Aaron and his team the best as they build out this novel innovation platform to address unmet needs in animal health, such as alternatives to antibiotics."
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