How will Ginkgo Bioworks and Zymergen grow beyond synbio as a service?

August 15, 2019 | Case Study

While many startups in the synthetic biology space have struggled to bring products to a commercially relevant scale, Ginkgo Bioworks and Zymergen have avoided this so-called "valley of death" via their service-based models. Instead of developing their own strains to sell their own products, Ginkgo and Zymergen historically used automation and machine learning (ML) to develop clients' strains, with Ginkgo focused on developing novel strains and Zymergen focused optimizing existing strains. Both companies earned on the order of $10 million in revenue in 2018 – including roughly $40 million for Ginkgo – but these revenues do little to justify the hundreds of millions of dollars raised by both companies and their over $1 billion valuations.

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