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With $90 million in funding, the Ginkgo spinoff Motif joins the fight for the future of food

Continuing its quest to become the Amazon Web Services for biomanufacturing, href="http://ginkgobioworks.com/">Ginkgo Bioworks has launched a new spinoff called Motif Ingredients with $90 million in funding to develop proteins that can serve as meat and dairy replacements.
It’s the second spinout for Ginkgo since late 2017 when the company partnered with Bayer to launch Joyn Bio, a startup researching and developing bacteria that could improve crop yields.
Now, with Motif, Ginkgo is tackling the wild world of protein replacements for the food and beverage industry through the spinoff of Motif Ingredients.
It’s a move that’s likely going to send shockwaves through several of the alternative meat and dairy companies that were using Ginkgo as their manufacturing partner in their quest to reduce the demand for animal husbandry — a leading contributor to global warming — through the development of protein replacements.
“To help feed the world and meet consumers’ evolving food preferences, traditional and complementary nutritional sources need to co-exist. As a global dairy nutrition company, we see plant- and fermentation-produced nutrition as complementary to animal protein, and in particular cows’ milk,” said Judith Swales, the Chief Operating Officer, for the Global Consumer and Foodservice Business, of Fonterra, an investor in Ginkgo’s new spinout.
To ensure the success of its new endeavor Ginkgo has raised $90 million in financing from industry insiders like Fonterra and the global food processing and trading firm Louis Dreyfus Co., while also tapping the pool of deep-pocketed investors behind Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the climate focused investment fund financed by a global gaggle of billionaires including Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, John Doerr, Vinod Khosla, Jack Ma, Neil Shen, Masayoshi Son, and Meg Whitman.
Leading Ginkgo’s latest spinout is a longtime veteran of the food and beverage industry, Jonathan McIntyre, the former head of research and development at another biotechnology startup focused on agriculture — Indigo Ag.
McIntyre, who left Indigo just two years after being named the company’s head of research and development, previously had stints at Monsanto, Nutrasweet, and PepsiCo (in both its beverage and snack divisions).
“There’s an opportunity to produce proteins,” says McIntyre. “Right now as population grows the protein supply is going to be challenged. Motif gives the ability to create proteins and make products from low cost available genetic material.”
With $90 million in funding, the Ginkgo spinoff Motif joins the fight for the future of food
Photo: paylessimages/iStock
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