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Boston’s Ginkgo and German giant Bayer AG strike partnership

It also signals the winding down of a joint venture aimed at making more sustainable agricultural products.

Ginkgo Bioworks cofounder and chief executive Jason KellyJessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks and German conglomerate Bayer AG are planning to enter a multiyear collaboration as part of a series of transactions announced on Friday.

The announcement signals the winding down of Joyn Bio, a joint venture the two companies started in 2017 to explore how to make more sustainable agricultural products through biology.

As part of the deal, Ginkgo will acquire Joyn’s technology as the cell programming company expands its agricultural business. Ginkgo will also acquire a 175,000-square-foot Bayer research and development site in California, allowing it to offer its customers more services, such as access to greenhouse and field testing. Employees at Joyn and the Bayer facility will transition to Ginkgo.

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“We believe we’re bringing together the most innovative minds in agriculture with the experience of a team that has brought several effective biological products to market for Bayer,” said Ginkgo cofounder and chief executive Jason Kelly, in a press release. “Opening this platform up to the world has the potential to truly revolutionize the field.”

Bayer will advance Joyn’s products, focusing on commercializing a fertilizer that aims to reduce the impact of nitrogen on the environment. It will become Ginkgo’s “anchor agricultural customer.”

The financial terms of the transactions, expected to close by the end of the year, were not disclosed. Ginkgo said cash proceeds from the new Bayer partnership “may significantly offset” expenses related to expanding its agriculture business.

Ginkgo performs cell engineering for companies, from established firms to startups, with the hopes that its customers will commercialize products with its know-how. Ginkgo works across various industries, including agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.

The company’s stock has plunged since it merged with a special purpose acquisition company in September.


Anissa Gardizy can be reached at anissa.gardizy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @anissagardizy8 and on Instagram @anissagardizy.journalism.