The world's first organism engineering foundry.

  • Industry
    Biotech
  • Founded
    2008
  • Headquarters
    USA
  • Invested
    2014

Having a keen mind in science and synthetic biology is not enough to take one far in the fragrance ingredient manufacturing field. Creating perfumes goes beyond pure data analysis. Scientists are also required to know how different smells stimulate human sensors, and towards which smells the nose reacts more favourably. This puts fragrance manufacturing at the intersection of art and science.

Thrilled by the nature of this field and the vast opportunities it creates in the food, drink and perfume industries, Tom Knight, one of the pioneers of synthetic biology, decided to put his years of research in MIT into reality tests. He led his team into the Y Combinator accelerator in 2014, making Ginkgo Bioworks the first biotech participant in this well-known programme.

They are now the vanguard of creating new types of cultured ingredients using engineered microbes. Inspired by the early days of computer programming, the team replaces the traditional method, which relies on the ingredients extracted from plants and synthesized chemicals, with an impressive groundbreaking pedigree. The company designs cultured ingredients through biological fermentation to give fragrance manufacturers various new scent options.

Ginkgo is well positioned as part of the major shift in the biotech industry, making synthetic biology a tool of creative expression for chefs, perfumers, bakers or brewers everywhere - a technology bounded only by imagination.

Ginkgo’s mission is to make biology easier to engineer. The first thing we did when we started the company was to come up with our mission statement...even before we had a name! We are tremendously excited about what the intersection of design + biology can make possible.

Reshma Shetty
Co-Founder
Ginkgo Bioworks