Biomeme & One Health Labs Announce Partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks to Address National Pandemic with Pooled Testing at K-12 Schools

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Biomeme, and their subsidiary CLIA laboratory network, One Health Labs, have partnered with Concentric by Ginkgo Bioworks to support in-person and hybrid learning at K-12 schools by offering fast, accurate, affordable and decentralized RT-PCR testing for classrooms.

Student self collecting swab sample by Copper Hound Pictures

Student self collecting swab sample

As communities across America work to accomplish the national priority of returning to in-person learning over the coming months, testing will be a critical tool to monitor viral spread and build confidence among students, teachers, and families.

Biomeme and One Health Labs, leaders in portable real-time PCR testing solutions and on-site testing services, have partnered with Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. (“Ginkgo”), the organism company, to launch a pooled testing program. This testing modality offers a highly effective method to group test for coronavirus cases, and will support efforts by communities to reopen K-12 schools responsibly, balancing accessibility and ease with reliable COVID-19 testing.

Concentric by Ginkgo offers SARS-CoV-2 pooled testing services to public K-12 and special education schools. Pooling makes it possible for students and teachers to combine swabs together in a single tube and run them in a single test, greatly simplifying sample collection logistics, reducing the need for additional PPE and test kits, and lowering the cost of testing to as little as $6 per person. This type of testing gives schools and districts group-level data to make informed public health decisions at a fraction of the cost of individual testing, while helping to bring students and teachers back to school with peace of mind.

“Biomeme and Ginkgo have successfully collaborated on numerous biosurveillance projects in the past, so when the opportunity came to help them scale access to COVID-19 tests for communities everywhere, it was an easy decision for us to make” said Max Perelman, co-founder and business lead at Biomeme. “Their swab pooling method can be run on our existing testing infrastructure and our goal is to provide 24-hour turnaround.”

Concentric by Ginkgo runs testing for hundreds of schools across the country, including large-scale programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Baltimore City Public Schools, and Maryland’s Montgomery County. Concentric by Ginkgo expects to onboard numerous additional schools across the country in the coming weeks.

The Biden Administration recently announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will distribute $10 billion to states to support viral testing in schools, with the goal of supporting in-person education through such testing.

“As communities across America work to accomplish the national priority of returning to in-person learning over the coming months, testing will be a critical tool to monitor viral spread and build confidence among students, teachers, and families,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo. “Pooled testing gives schools a simple-to-implement protocol to test every student, every week, providing a scalable approach for collecting vital information and tracking the virus.”

Both Biomeme and Ginkgo have been actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts outside of Concentric by Ginkgo, including community testing, epidemiological sequencing, vaccine development and therapeutics discovery. Biomeme’s mobile PCR technology and its ability to quickly identify and respond to community level infectious disease outbreaks has enabled it to become a critical technology for the Antibacterial Resistance Leadership Group (ARLG)’s RADICAL studies, the DHS Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense Center of Excellence’s pre-symptomatic detection of illness program, and the DOD’s Joint Biological Tactical Detection System. Biomeme’s tests, including SARS-CoV-2, are known for being shelf-stable, pre-aliquoted, and pre-mixed to balance simplicity, mobility, and throughput. These factors, among others, play a critical part in why various government agencies continue to collaborate with Biomeme.

In addition to testing, Ginkgo is applying its platform to optimize manufacturing of critical raw materials required for production of nucleic acid vaccines against COVID-19. This type of vaccine has emerged as an exciting new modality given its rapid development timelines and emerging data indicating high efficacy. However, nucleic acid vaccines require a different manufacturing process, have a highly specialized supply chain, and have never been produced at the scale required to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Ginkgo's work to date has created processes that can dramatically increase the number of doses achievable with each manufacturing run.

To learn more about Concentric by Ginkgo or to get your school district involved, head over to concentricbyginkgo.com.

About Biomeme

Biomeme was conceived and created to make the world a better place through the democratization of healthcare diagnostics. To that end, we have created technology that empowers anyone, anywhere (including low-resource settings with minimal space, electricity, and equipment) with the capabilities of a molecular lab in the palm of their hands. Over the last 9 years, Biomeme has grown a vertically integrated organization spanning specimen collection, sample prep, assay and instrumentation R&D, PCR reagent lyophilization, hardware and consumable manufacturing, as well as nationwide molecular diagnostic testing services. With the low cost, ease-of-use, and unparalleled field portability of the Biomeme system, we are prepared to rapidly advance initiatives in emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19, as well as emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. For more information, visit http://www.biomeme.com.

Contact: tom.cook (at) biomeme (dot) com

About Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.

Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo uses the most advanced technology on the planet—biology—to grow better products. The company's cell programming platform is enabling the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, from food to fragrance to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including community testing, epidemiological tracing, vaccine development and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit http://www.ginkgobioworks.com.

Contact: press (at) ginkgobioworks (dot) com

Photo by: Copper Hound Pictures

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Tom Cook
Biomeme
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