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Ginkgo Bioworks and XpresCheck Receive Award to Expand CDC's Traveler-Based SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Surveillance Program In U.S. Airports

August 15, 2022

Public-private partnership to enable the development of innovative, sustainable infrastructure designed to set the global standard for travel biosecurity

BOSTON and NEW YORK, Aug. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA) and XpresSpa Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: XSPA) announced they will continue to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) traveler-based SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance program through a new contract awarded August 12, 2022. The partnership is expected to support public health and biosecurity services totaling approximately $16 million, with an overall potential to exceed $61 million based on CDC program options and public health priorities. As COVID-19 sublineages and other biological threats continue to emerge, the partners plan to expand the program footprint and incorporate innovative modalities and offerings, such as monitoring of wastewater from aircraft lavatories.

Concentric by Ginkgo, the biosecurity and public health initiative of Ginkgo Bioworks, XpresCheck by XpresSpa Group, a leading provider of COVID-19 surveillance and diagnostic testing in U.S. airports, and CDC have partnered since August 2021 to deliver timely public health data on SARS-CoV-2 variants and their sublineages, including the first U.S. detections of Omicron BA.2 and BA.3. The expanded program will serve as an early warning system to detect new or emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, and can facilitate response to future travel-associated outbreaks and pandemics. It provides a pulse of COVID-19 cases and the arrival of variants among international travelers, delivering important data as the country monitors the global COVID-19 situation.

The joint biosecurity effort, which started as a pilot program last year, has grown to become the nation's first large-scale, sustained travel biosecurity platform, currently operating in four of the busiest international airports in the U.S.: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK); Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR); San Francisco International Airport (SFO); and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Currently, international travelers arriving at these airports from select countries can enroll in the program on a voluntary basis and be sampled for SARS-CoV-2 for pathogen surveillance purposes. Samples are then sent to a lab in Concentric's network—run by an academic or private partner, such as Eurofins—and positive samples undergo viral genomic sequencing.

The program is slated to expand its footprint with additional testing sites in the existing airport locations along with a new location at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) this fall, to accommodate a higher volume and diversity of passengers. Concentric and XpresCheck have also led a research and development effort on the use of wastewater monitoring from arriving aircraft as an innovative new tool for travel biosecurity, and plan to work with CDC to explore deployment at scale as a part of the pathogen monitoring program.

Dr. Cindy Friedman, Chief of CDC's Travelers' Health Branch, stated, "This program has clearly demonstrated its potential to provide early warning for new COVID-19 variants, allowing researchers and public health officials across the country time to prepare for targeted response.  As many countries ramp down their pathogen surveillance efforts, we expect the partnership will play an increasingly important role not just nationally, but globally. We're grateful to all the travelers who have participated and done their part to advance innovation in public health."

"Through our close partnership with CDC and XpresCheck, we've been able to build an effective biosecurity platform at critical points of entry to help public health officials mount timely and targeted responses to COVID-19," said Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo. "We share a collaborative, long-term innovation mindset, and we believe this program expansion will give us the opportunity to develop and scale the capabilities needed to provide a global weather map of infectious disease and help manage travel-associated outbreaks and pandemics in the years to come. Public-private partnerships like this help disrupt the panic-neglect cycle that holds us back from achieving accessible and sustainable biosecurity for everyone."

"Building upon the foundation we previously established amidst the height of the pandemic, the evolution of this program is biosurveillance at scale, and we believe will deliver a further fortified frontline defense to the identification of and protection against COVID-19," stated Ezra Ernst, Chief Executive Officer of XpresCheck. "Through the renewed investment in this initiative, we and our partners are striving to set a standard for traveler biosecurity. With our understanding of travelers during their journey, alongside the expertise of CDC and Concentric, we're bringing peace of mind to the public and providing public health officials with key insights to track the spread of disease."

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company's platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit

About XpresSpa Group, Inc.

XpresSpa Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: XSPA) is a leading global health and wellness holding company operating four brands: XpresCheck®, XpresSpa®, Treat™ and HyperPointe.

  • XpresSpa is a leading airport retailer of wellness services and related products, with 26 locations in 13 airports globally.
  • Treat is a travel health and wellness brand that is providing on-demand access to healthcare through technology and personalized services, including two domestic airport locations.
  • XpresCheck is a leading provider of Covid-19 screening and diagnostic testing with 15 locations in 12 domestic airports. XpresCheck is also partnered with CDC and Concentric by Ginkgo, conducting biosurveillance monitoring in its airport locations to identify existing and new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
  • HyperPointe is a leading digital healthcare and data analytics relationship company serving the global healthcare industry.

To learn more about XpresCheck, visit:
To learn more about XpresSpa, visit
To learn more about Treat, visit:
To learn more about HyperPointe, visit:
Twitter: @xprescheck and Instagram: @realxprescheck
Twitter: @XpresSpa and Instagram: @XpresSpa
Twitter: @Treat_Care and Instagram: @treat_care

Ginkgo Bioworks Contacts:


Investor Relations:

XpresSpa Group Contacts:

Investor Relations
Joseph Calabrese

Heather Tidwell

Forward-Looking Statements of Ginkgo Bioworks

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the potential success of the partnership and Ginkgo's biosecurity platform. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "believe," "can," "project," "potential," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "strategy," "future," "opportunity," "plan," "may," "should," "will," "would," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to: (i) the effect of Ginkgo's business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. ("Soaring Eagle") on Ginkgo's business relationships, performance, and business generally, (ii) risks that the business combination disrupts current plans of Ginkgo and potential difficulties in Ginkgo's employee retention, (iii) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be instituted against Ginkgo related to its business combination with Soaring Eagle, (iv) volatility in the price of Ginkgo's securities now that it is a public company due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo operates and plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business and changes in the combined capital structure, (v) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations after the completion of the business combination, and identify and realize additional opportunities, (vi) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology, (vii) the unpredictability of the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for COVID-19 testing and the commercial viability of our COVID-19 testing business, (viii) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations, and (ix) our ability to close and realize the expected benefits of pending merger and acquisition transactions. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors" section of Ginkgo's quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on May 16, 2022 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Ginkgo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Ginkgo does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.

Forward-Looking Statements of XpresSpa Group, Inc.

This press release may contain "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These include statements preceded by, followed by or that otherwise include the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "intends," "should," "seeks," "future," "continue," or the negative of such terms, or other comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements relating to expectations about future results or events are based upon information available to XpresSpa Group as of today's date and are not guarantees of the future performance of the Company, and actual results may vary materially from the results and expectations discussed. Additional information concerning these and other risks is contained in XpresSpa Group's Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and other Securities and Exchange Commission filings. All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements concerning XpresSpa Group, or other matters and attributable to XpresSpa Group or any person acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements above. XpresSpa Group does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date hereof.


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