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Concentric by Ginkgo Partners with Penn State University on Zoonotic Disease Biosurveillance Research Supported by USDA Grant

October 24, 2023

The grant will fund research into more than 50 species of wildlife to better monitor for and prevent biological threats to humans

 BOSTON and UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Oct. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced it is joining efforts with Penn State University to integrate its biosurveillance capabilities into the university's research of 58 wildlife species for SARS-CoV-2 to monitor potential spillover to humans. The initiative is supported by a cooperative agreement awarded to Penn State from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

While SARS-CoV-2 has been documented in some wild animal species in the U.S., such as white-tailed deer, few species have been tested for evidence of exposure or infection with the virus. In addition to potentially threatening human health, the virus's presence and past cross-species transmission has the potential to threaten certain agricultural species that are vital for the global food supply.

The university's research on under-sampled species aims to bridge this surveillance gap by providing data that will allow more accurate and informed interventions to prevent the spread and impact of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. In partnering with Concentric by Ginkgo, the university will gain access to the biosurveillance research and analytics capabilities used by government institutions to help build more stable and robust biosecurity infrastructure.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Penn State, a land-grant institution at the forefront of zoonotic SARS-CoV-2 biosurveillance, and we are proud to participate in the work USDA is doing to lead on biosecurity," said Matt McKnight, General Manager for Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks. "Partnerships between government, industry and academia are critical, and together we can build sustainable biosecurity infrastructure."

Penn State researchers will study samples from a variety of species of wildlife, including eastern chipmunks, gray squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, white-footed mice, moose, wolverines, three species of deer, and several species of bats. The research aims not only to identify which animal species are infected with SARS-CoV-2, but also identify which animals can transmit the virus and thereby play a role in the observed viral persistence in these wild populations. The partners believe the research will provide data that can help support informed decision-making by public health officials.

"We know that SARS-CoV-2 is currently circulating in some U.S. wildlife, which raises the potential for new variants to emerge," said Kurt Vandegrift, associate research professor of biology at Penn State in a press release. "For example, recent evidence from deer in New York has revealed the continued circulation of variants long absent from the human population, indicative of persistence in the wild. Viral persistence is important because it not only poses a looming risk of spillback to humans, but also allows for viral evolution and the emergence of highly divergent variants for which our diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines could be ill prepared."

About Ginkgo Bioworks 
Ginkgo Bioworks is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, providing flexible, end-to-end services that solve challenges for organizations across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to pharmaceuticals to industrial and specialty chemicals. Ginkgo's biosecurity and public health unit, Concentric by Ginkgo, is building global infrastructure for biosecurity to empower governments, communities, and public health leaders to prevent, detect and respond to a wide variety of biological threats. For more information, visit and, read our blog, or follow us on social media channels such as X (formerly known as Twitter) (@Ginkgo and @ConcentricByGinkgo), Instagram (@GinkgoBioworks and @ConcentricByGinkgo), Threads (@GinkgoBioworks), or LinkedIn.

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 capabilities and 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) volatility in the price of Ginkgo's securities 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, and changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business, (ii) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations, and to identify and realize additional business opportunities, (iii) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology, (iv) the uncertainty regarding the demand for passive monitoring programs and biosecurity services, (v) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations, (vi) our ability to realize the expected benefits of merger and acquisition transactions, (vii) the outcome of any legal proceedings against Ginkgo, including as a result of recent acquisitions, (viii) our ability to realize the expected benefits from and the success of our Foundry platform programs, (ix) our ability to successfully develop engineered cells, bioprocesses, data packages or other deliverables, and (x) the product development or commercialization success of our customers. 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 August 9, 2023 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.



Sara LaJeunesse
Assistant Director, Research Communications, Office of Strategic Communications
Penn State University

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