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Biogen takes a small gamble with Ginkgo manufacturing deal, hoping for big rewards in gene therapy

May 21, 2021

For a company that generated $13.4 billion last year, $5 million is hardly a make-or-break investment.

So it goes with the $5 million gamble Biogen is taking on Ginkgo Bioworks’ cell programming platform and know-how. With an incentive-laden deal, Massachusetts-based Biogen hopes to accelerate its gene therapy efforts, specifically in the manufacturing of recombinant adeno-associated virus-based vectors.

The vectors are used to develop gene therapies, especially for neurological and neuromuscular diseases. They’re expensive and time-consuming to manufacture, Biogen says, making certain therapies with high-dose needs and large patient populations cost prohibitive. The company hopes Ginkgo’s platform will improve manufacturing efficiency.

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