The initial goal of the planned partnership is to support Rwanda’s public health institutions as they work to address bio-security challenges in the region.
The leading horizontal platform for cell programming, and the Rwanda Development Board (“RDB”), representing the government of the Republic of Rwanda, today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the intent of developing and implementing new bio-security capabilities in Rwanda.
The initial goal of the planned partnership is to support Rwanda’s public health institutions as they work to address bio-security challenges in the region. Ginkgo, through its bio-security and public health initiative, Concentric by Ginkgo (“Concentric”), plans to collaborate on the ground with RDB to equip these institutions with bio-security tools and training as well as the secure data infrastructure they need to leverage automation, data analysis, bioinformatics capabilities, and other critical genomic sequencing technologies.
Concentric leverages a nationwide laboratory network to provide pathogen monitoring capabilities across thousands of sites in the U.S., including schools, airports, and other congregate settings. Concentric aims to build sustainable global bio-security infrastructure to prepare for the next new variant or novel pathogen, and this planned partnership with RDB is a significant milestone in its international expansion as it continues to scale its bio-security offering.
RDB, a Rwandan government institution, was established in 2008 to accelerate Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Ginkgo will build relationships with Rwandan public health institutions and private sector-led biotechnology initiatives in Rwanda; the RDB will contribute expertise in skills development and on-the-ground support for the partnership.
Concentric and RDB recognize the importance of international collaboration and cooperation to promote global health security as biological threats emerge.
Effective pathogen monitoring and data sharing capabilities can empower government officials, community leaders, and other stakeholders to make informed public health decisions.
In the long-term, these capabilities can also be leveraged to form the foundation for a sustainable regional bio-economy.
For example, in the context of this MOU, Ginkgo and RDB plan to collaborate to inform workforce development priorities in the areas of biotechnology, bio-manufacturing, and bio-engineering, and to explore potential opportunities for Rwanda to leverage its biodiversity as a foundation for innovation within its bio-economy.
“The future of bio-security is global—COVID-19 has shown us all that pathogens don’t recognize national borders. To prepare for the next biological threat, we need the infrastructure in place to build a global weather map tracking the spread and evolution of infectious diseases,” said Matt McKnight, General Manager, Bio-security at Ginkgo Bio-works.
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“We deeply appreciate Rwanda’s leadership working to define a new era of bio-security, and we are incredibly excited to use our platform to support Rwanda’s public health institutions with critical capabilities that we believe will help them face challenges ranging from this pandemic to agricultural and travel bio-security.”
Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer of the Rwanda Development Board, noted that, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for robust public health and biotechnology infrastructure in Rwanda and around the world. We are excited about our plans to partner with Ginkgo to bring cutting-edge bio-security capabilities to Rwanda across various sectors including health and agriculture. We believe this will stimulate our growing bio-economy and help us learn more about our biodiversity.”