Ginkgo Bioworks, the organism company, and Synlogic, the clinical-stage drug discovery and development company developing novel Synthetic Biotic™ medicines, today announced a collaboration to discover new living medicines to treat neurological and liver disorders. Synthetic Biotic medicines are living medicines in which engineered probiotics are designed to perform critical metabolic conversions in the gut that can replace physiological activity missing or damaged in patients.
Together, Synlogic and Ginkgo aim to transform the discovery and design of living medicines. Ginkgo’s automated foundry and expertise in high-throughput organism screening and design, combined with Synlogic’s insights and expertise in discovery, translational and clinical development of Synthetic Biotic medicines will enhance Synlogic’s powerful drug discovery engine, enabling iteration through thousands of drug leads with great speed and precision. Synlogic’s core expertise in building Synthetic Biotic medicines for clinically-relevant potency, quantitative pharmacology, dose response, and reproducible manufacturing will further accelerate the development of novel gut-based therapeutics.
“Combining synthetic biology and the microbiome to make living medicines is a novel, promising approach to developing treatments for a wide variety of conditions,” said Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. “We have applied our automated foundry to design organisms for a wide range of industries and are excited to leverage our platform for therapeutics development for the very first time. Synlogic is the perfect partner for us as we set out to pursue the challenge of designing living medicines.”
This collaboration is the first step toward an anticipated broad effort to generate a portfolio of transformational living medicine drug leads. The focus of this collaboration will be combining optimization capabilities, establishing the working model behind the joint discovery engine, and generating drug leads. The parties expect to further collaborate to explore how their technologies can be used to treat a broad range of neurological and liver conditions. The companies will jointly seek strategic partners for portfolio expansion, clinical development, and commercialization in these disease areas.
“Our mission is to unlock the broad potential of Synthetic Biotic medicines and bring them to patients,” said JC Gutiérrez-Ramos, Ph.D., Synlogic’s president and CEO. “There is massive need among the approximately 100 million Americans suffering from neurological conditions and 30 million from liver disease. There is strong scientific evidence that neurologic conditions can be modulated by taking advantage of the natural cross talk between gut and the brain, a conversation that involves hundreds of well-characterized metabolites. In our first-in-human study to treat hyperammonemia, we demonstrated a pharmacological effect and dose responses on systemic metabolites with a Synthetic Biotic medicine that acts from the gut. As we observed this effect in non-human primates in our phenylketonuria program, we now have two examples in toxic encephalopathies of Synthetic Biotic medicines modifying metabolites through their programmed mechanisms while acting in different regions of the gut in human and non-human primates. We look forward to creating a powerful new drug discovery and development engine with Ginkgo to deliver Synthetic Biotic medicines to modulate metabolites that influence the brain and liver.”
There is potential for both parties to further develop technology generated during the collaboration. Financial terms of the collaboration are not disclosed.