The two companies seek to develop green and clean alternatives to synthetic polymers
Boston, MA and Quakenbrück, Germany – February 6, 2023 – BIOWEG, a producer of highly functional and customizable bio-based materials, and Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced a collaboration to optimize the production of bacterial cellulose and to produce novel variants of cellulose with improved performance to serve a variety of end markets.
BIOWEG’s current products based on biodegradable bacterial cellulose have already been tested and implemented by companies as an effective substitute for widely used synthetic polymers such as acrylates, polyethylene, and polystyrene. Synthetic polymers often appear as microbeads (micropowders) and texturants (Rheology modifiers) in products throughout the cosmetics, homecare, personal care, agricultural coatings and other industries, which contribute to microplastic pollution in surface waters worldwide. It is estimated that an average person could be ingesting about 5 grams of plastic each week through the consumption of common foods and beverages, according to a study by the University of Newcastle. These microplastics are non-biodegradable and sometimes carry toxic chemicals on top of them. Regulatory agencies and communities around the world have addressed microplastics contamination through significant regulations. For example, in 2022 the European Chemical Agency announced phasing out periods of 4 and 6 years for microbeads in ‘rinse-off’ and ‘leave-on’ cosmetics, respectively.
“Consumers and companies are united in their commitment to finding better performing and more sustainable alternatives for everyday products to break the chain of microplastic pollution. Our solutions are not just tackling a major environmental, sustainability and health problem, but also present a robust market opportunity to replace plastic polymers in care, coatings, chemicals, and other industries,” said Prateek Mahalwar, CEO at BIOWEG. “We believe Ginkgo’s strain engineering and screening capabilities can enable us to deliver our biobased solutions at scale and competitive pricing.”
“BIOWEG is addressing a significant need in the marketplace to develop and produce a new generation of clean alternatives to synthetic polymers,” said Ena Cratsenburg, Chief Business Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks. “We are committed to supporting the shift to sustainable and bio-based high-performance alternatives and are thrilled to be working with BIOWEG to address the pressing issues of microplastics contamination and promote responsible consumption.”
BIOWEG, an innovative start-up based in Niedersachsen, Germany, is leading the charge against microplastics and petroleum-based polymers. With the EU’s microplastics ban in sight, BIOWEGis working to create alternative bacterial cellulose-based ingredients for personal care, cosmetics, seed and fertilizer coating, and the processed food industry. Combining biotechnology, materials science, and green chemistry, BIOWEG utilizes waste or side streams from the food industry as feedstock to develop these solutions. The European Union has awarded BIOWEG a 12.6-million-euro European Innovation Council funding for their outstanding efforts in creating a more sustainable future for generations to come. For more information, visit www.bioweg.com or their LinkedIn page.
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 ginkgobioworks.com and concentricbyginkgo.com, read our blog, or follow us on social media channels such as Twitter (@Ginkgo and @ConcentricByGBW), Instagram (@GinkgoBioworks and @ConcentricByGinkgo), or LinkedIn.
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 cell engineering 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 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, (v) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations, and (vi) our ability to realize the expected benefits of 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 November 14, 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.