Elanco Animal Health, the world’s second largest animal health company, is to merge its R&D into biological animal health treatments into a new company, together with intellectual property from with US-based Ginkgo Bioworks.
The two companies are forming a new business, BiomEdit, to explore products that use microbiome science to improve animal health, animal protein production and livestock disease monitoring.
Ginkgo Bioworks, a cell programming platform located in the US city of Boston, is already collaborating with Bayer Crop Science to develop nitrogen-fixing technologies for crop plants, among other biological lines of research.
BiomEdit aims to discover, develop and introduce novel probiotics, bioactive molecules, engineered microbial medicines and microbial monitoring services for animal health. These could include medicated feed ingredients, nutritional health products and therapeutics for both livestock and pet animal species, as well as biosecurity technologies for animal disease monitoring. The business will be led by chief executive Aaron Schacht, the former Elanco executive vice president of innovation, regulatory and business development, and his former Elanco microbiome R&D team.
The new company will be approximately 40% owned by Elanco and Ginkgo, on top of asset and intellectual property contributions. It will also seek to raise $40 million through a targeted Series A funding round involving Viking Global Investors and Anterra Capital.
“Livestock producers and veterinarians are calling for new products that address antibiotic resistance and improve livestock sustainability,” said Mr. Schacht. “Coupling the platform, pipeline and deep expertise of the former Elanco microbiome team with Ginkgo’s unique screening and strain engineering capabilities will accelerate and amplify our ability to advance novel animal microbiome-inspired products for animal health.”
“We are always on the lookout for opportunities to accelerate our partners’ abilities to address massive challenges, such as antibiotic resistance in livestock,” adds Ginkgo chief executive Jason Kelly. “Together, we see Ginkgo and BiomEdit addressing significant opportunities in the animal health industry with new breakthroughs based on microbiome science. We deeply depend on the health of animals in our ecosystem and supply chains – the potential applications for our cell programming platform in this area are far reaching.”