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Infinity BiologiX (IBX) Announces Collaboration With Ginkgo Bioworks to Scale COVID Response Through Pooled Testing in K-12 Schools
IBX is collaborating with Concentric by Ginkgo to support America’s K-12 schools by developing, validating and offering swab pooling qPCR testing in New Jersey and across the US.
Today, Infinity BiologiX LLC (“IBX”), the innovative central laboratory, announced its collaboration with Concentric by Ginkgo to provide a scalable and simple testing modality – pooled testing – to serve schools operating in-person or hybrid learning environments. Concentric by Ginkgo is the public health and biosecurity effort at Ginkgo Bioworks (“Ginkgo”), the organism company, and serves hundreds of schools across the country. This partnership will enable school systems in New Jersey (including Newark Public Schools) and other states to receive end-to-end COVID testing services.
Concentric by Ginkgo’s goal is to provide easy, affordable pooled testing to every school in America. Pooled classroom testing, which combines swabs from all consenting individuals in a classroom and runs them as a single test, can significantly increase testing capacity and lower the cost of testing programs.
As more and more schools work to support in-person learning environments, communities across the country have turned to COVID-19 testing to monitor the virus. Even as teachers and guardians become eligible for vaccines, clinical vaccine trials for individuals under 16 are just beginning, and efforts to track and mitigate viral spread remain critical.
“We are proud to support this initiative which addresses the sensitivity, specificity and capacity challenges associated with a large pooled sample strategy for COVID testing, and opens up the possibility of truly comprehensive community testing,” said Robin Grimwood, CEO of IBX.
IBX, building on its proven track record as a leading innovative central laboratory, was the first to receive FDA Emergency Use Authorization for the use of saliva testing to detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and at-home saliva sample collection for COVID-19 testing. To date, IBX has performed over 6 million qPCR diagnostic tests for COVID-19.
“Pooled testing – every student, every week – is a key tool that schools can leverage to give students, teachers and their families peace of mind as they return to in-person learning,” said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. ”Pooling is a testing protocol that’s truly scalable, and it’s our collaboration with proven and innovative labs like IBX that make that scale possible.”
Announcing the Newark Public Schools testing program in March of this year, Superintendent Roger León said, “We are extremely excited to participate in Ginkgo Bioworks’ pooled COVID-19 testing for students because it will provide an added level of confidence to parents, students, staff and the community as we return to in-person instruction.”
About Infinity BiologiX
Infinity BiologiX (IBX) is a market-disrupting central laboratory supporting academia, government, and industry. IBX provides global sample collection, processing, storage, and analytical services integrated with scientific and technical support in both the research and clinical arenas. As a leader in biomaterials, IBX provides support to the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and research in the genomics, precision, and regenerative medicine arenas. IBX previously operated as RUCDR Infinite Biologics before spinning out from Rutgers University-New Brunswick in August 2020. For more information, visit www.ibx.bio.
About Ginkgo Bioworks
Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo Bioworks 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 www.ginkgobioworks.com.