Enzyme biocatalysts can reduce costly synthesis and purification steps, thereby decreasing production costs. Through this collaboration, we aim to optimize several biocatalysts by leveraging our world-class proprietary fungal strains, cell line development, enzyme engineering and optimization, and multiomics expertise.
Behzad Mahdavi, Ginko’s Senior Vice President of Biopharma Manufacturing and Life Sciences Tools, said: “Ginkgo’s fungal strains present a major opportunity for improving biocatalysis. E. coli is currently the mainstay host for expressing enzymes, but a large number of enzymes will not express properly in E. coli, and those that do express in E. coli may have better homologs that only express in fungal strains. This enzyme optimization project with Merck has the potential to help reduce the cost of goods and enable a more robust supply chain for APIs.”
Under the terms of the collaboration, Ginkgo will earn an upfront research and development fee and is eligible for success-based research and development milestone payments. In addition, Ginkgo is eligible to earn commercial milestone payments for each of a specified number of biocatalysis targets, which have the potential to total, in the aggregate, up to $144 million.