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Ginkgo Bioworks Awarded DARPA Funding to Produce Novel Proteins to Control Ice in Extreme Cold Weather Environments
[March 28, 2024]

Ginkgo Bioworks Awarded DARPA Funding to Produce Novel Proteins to Control Ice in Extreme Cold Weather Environments

BOSTON, March 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, today announced that it has been awarded a contract for up to $6 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to achieve DARPA's objectives under its new Ice Control for cold Environments (ICE) program.

DARPA's ICE program aims to develop new materials that control the physical properties of ice crystals to facilitate operations in extreme cold weather environments, which can pose a variety of risks to both personnel health and critical equipment. To meet this goal, Ginkgo, in collaboration with Netrias, Cambium, and consultant Dr. Ran Drori, aims to develop novel biologically-sourced and inspired materials that leverage biological adaptations to cold environments.

The Ginkgo team will work to enable the sustainable production of novel de-icing proteins with ice-modulating behaviors to improve operational efficacy in extreme cold weather environments. These materials will be designed with the goal of meeting U.S. Department of Defense specifications and could potentially be used in solutions with broad commercial applications. One such application could be a lens coating to prevent frost formation for a range of optics applications from satellites and high altitude imaging instruments to security and wildlife cameras. The aviation and automobile industries could also benefit from de-icing products that facilitate safe operations in icy conditions. Furthermore, a topical frostbite prevention product could be developed for outdoor enthusiasts. If successful, these solutions could impact high value and consumer markets and facilitate replacement of current environmentally harmful de-icing agents.

The team plans to leverage Ginkgo Protein Services to design, screen, and optimize a library of novel proteins that demonstrate ice-modulating behaviors. Ginkgo will design a library of proteins using metagenomic discovery and de novo computational design to source known, naturally occurring ice-modulating behavior proteins. During the discovery phase, predictive models will be used to iterate Design–Build–Test–Optimize loops, maximizing discovery of proteins with ice inhibition, induction, and low-adhesion properties. Throughout the process, Ginkgo will selectively screen promising proteins with further high-performance, application-specific characterization to inform the final down selection.

Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks: "We are honored to be selected by DARPA to work on this program to facilitate sustained cold weather operations. Building high-throughput libraries of candidate proteins is possible thanks to Ginkgo's unique and differentiated data assets. Biology offers us a myriad of ways to adapt to our environment, and synthetic biology allows us to tap into nature's capabilities and apply them to our own needs. We look forward to the products that the ICE program generates, which may enable enhanced safety and proficiency across various use cases."

To learn more bout Ginkgo Protein Services, please visit

If you are interested in working with Ginkgo for the public sector, check out our Offerings for Governments page.

About Ginkgo Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, providing flexible, end-to-end services that solve challenges for organizations across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to pharmaceuticals to industrial and specialty chemicals. Ginkgo's biosecurity and public health unit, Concentric by Ginkgo, is building global infrastructure for biosecurity to empower governments, communities, and public health leaders to prevent, detect and respond to a wide variety of biological threats. For more information, visit and, read our blog, or follow us on social media channels such as X (@Ginkgo and @ConcentricByGBW), Instagram (@GinkgoBioworks), Threads (@GinkgoBioworks) or LinkedIn.

Forward-Looking Statements of Ginkgo Bioworks

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the capabilities and potential success of the partnership and Ginkgo's cell programming platform. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words "believe," "can," "project," "potential," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "strategy," "future," "opportunity," "plan," "may," "should," "will," "would," "will be," "will continue," "will likely result," and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are predictions, projections and other statements about future events that are based on current expectations and assumptions and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including but not limited to: (i) volatility in the price of Ginkgo's securities due to a variety of factors, including changes in the competitive and highly regulated industries in which Ginkgo operates and plans to operate, variations in performance across competitors, and changes in laws and regulations affecting Ginkgo's business, (ii) the ability to implement business plans, forecasts, and other expectations, and to identify and realize additional business opportunities, (iii) the risk of downturns in demand for products using synthetic biology, (iv) the uncertainty regarding the demand for passive monitoring programs and biosecurity services, (v) changes to the biosecurity industry, including due to advancements in technology, emerging competition and evolution in industry demands, standards and regulations, (vi) the outcome of any pending or potential legal proceedings against Ginkgo, (vii) our ability to realize the expected benefits from and the success of our Foundry platform programs, (viii) our ability to successfully develop engineered cells, bioprocesses, data packages or other deliverables, and (ix) the product development or commercialization success of our customers. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described in the "Risk Factors" section of Ginkgo's annual report on Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on February 29, 2024 and other documents filed by Ginkgo from time to time with the SEC. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Ginkgo assumes no obligation and does not intend to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. Ginkgo does not give any assurance that it will achieve its expectations.

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

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