Gingko Bioworks and Bayer are joining together as strategic partners in an effort “to develop biological solutions in fields like nitrogen optimization, carbon sequestration, and next-generation crop protection,” Bayer announced Friday.

The company said it is moving forward on an agreement under which Gingko will acquire Bayer’s West Sacramento Biologics Research & Development site and internal discovery and lead optimization platform.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year. It would bring to Bayer nitrogen-fixing technologies developed by Joyn Bio, a joint venture between Gingko and Leaps by Bayer that started in 2017. 

“The R&D platform of Joyn Bio is intended to join forces with Ginkgo Bioworks along with Bayer’s West Sacramento R&D platform through this transaction upon the projected close before the end of the year,” Bayer said.

“The transaction will enable Bayer to expand its leading biologicals position, strengthen its access to key enabling technology in synthetic biology, and maintain Bayer’s role as the preferred research, development, and commercial partner in the biologics segment,” Bayer said.

Bob Reiter, who leads research and development for Bayer’s Crop Science Division, said the company’s work with Ginkgo “will accelerate our biologicals pipeline by leveraging Bayer’s expertise in bringing reliable and effective biological products to market against Ginkgo’s synthetic biology research engine – now enhanced by an expanded ag biologics research and development platform – and help Bayer continue to expand our biologics product range to create tailored solutions for additional crops.”

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Joyn “engineers microbes to improve naturally occurring processes like nitrogen fixation, bringing growers more reliable solutions for crop protection and nutrition and reducing environmental impact,” according to the news release announcing the transaction. 

“Our first product will be an engineered microbe that enables cereal crops like corn, wheat, and rice to convert nitrogen from the air into a form they can use to grow,” Joyn’s website says. “This will significantly reduce the industry's reliance on traditional chemical fertilizer, as well as greenhouse gases produced by agriculture.”

Agri-Pulse previously reported that Joyn Bio hopes the microbe can eventually reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizer by up to 50%.

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