WASHINGTON– The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has approved a loan of up to $1.1 billion for Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. (Ginkgo) to aid in the expansion of its commercial biosecurity business at a global scale that will offer critical COVID-19 testing capacity and vaccine supplies. DFC’s loan to Ginkgo will aid in America’s response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic by facilitating the mass production of key raw materials for vaccines and the deployment of significant testing capacity. Once the expansion is complete, Ginkgo will have the capacity to produce mRNA enzymes for vaccines and plasmid DNA for vaccine development that could lead to over 300 million available vaccine doses. Additionally, the expansion would enable Ginkgo to analyze up to 25 million tests per month in aggregate at its centralized facilities and 600,000 tests per month at each additional location.
“DFC is proud to support this American company in the fight against COVID-19,” said DFC Chief Executive Officer Adam Boehler. “Ginkgo is working to provide Americans with needed testing capacity and vaccine supplies which will facilitate our recovery from this global pandemic.”
“The ability to manufacture vaccines and improve our testing capabilities is among our top priorities to stop this pandemic,” said HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, M.D. “Pursuing unique financial tools to shore up our domestic production capabilities reduces America’s reliance on foreign suppliers and manufacturers and contributes to the readiness of the nation to surge domestic production of medical countermeasures, save lives, and defeat this virus.”
“Whenever America needs to be defended, Massachusetts answers. In the fight against COVID-19, we’ve pioneered vaccines and widespread surveillance testing. The biosecurity infrastructure Ginkgo is building with the support of the federal government will not just help end this pandemic but make sure this never happens again," said Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA).
“At the outset of the pandemic, we saw firsthand how vulnerable our medical supply chains were. It’s critical we use every resource at our disposal to onshore key aspects of this industry and build out infrastructure that helps ensure this never happens again,” said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI). “Today’s announcement is a step in that direction and will not only modernize our economy, but strengthen our national security for years to come.”
This loan will support Ginkgo’s biosecurity initiatives including rapidly scaling virus monitoring and population-scale testing, and providing supply chain surety and stability through the domestic production of key supplies for vaccines and therapeutics. Testing will focus on four key areas ranging from large, centralized testing facilities using next-generation sequencing to “at-home” rapid antigen testing kits and allow Ginkgo to support an aggregate capacity of up to 50 million tests per month. The project will also include the expansion in production of two key raw materials for nucleic acid-based vaccines which will drive improvements in vaccine manufacturing costs and increased output.
These efforts complement DFC’s global response to both the health-related and economic impacts of COVID-19. The agency recently announced a call for proposals under its new Health and Prosperity Initiative, which seeks to catalyze $5 billion of investment in projects that help developing countries respond to COVID-19 and build greater health resilience. Under the initiative, DFC is particularly focused on investments in health system capacity, including supply chains that expand the distribution of diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines, and other medical supplies, products, and equipment.
U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and technology. DFC also provides financing for small businesses and women entrepreneurs in order to create jobs in emerging markets. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.