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Ginkgo Bioworks raises $275 million to design DNA

Gingko Bioworks' lab facility. Photo: Gingko Bioworks

Ginkgo Bioworks is in the business of designing and printing microbes, but it recently raised $275 million — bringing its valuation to over $1 billion — because it sees itself more akin to a software company.

Why it matters: The Boston-based company says that, by providing specialized services for designing, developing, and printing DNA, it can open possibilities for customers in industries outside of health care.

For example, a fragrance company can pay Ginkgo Bioworks for a project that would otherwise be too expensive to do in-house, according to co-founder and CEO Jason Kelly. A pharma company would have to hire scientists to do the development itself.

Deal details: Investors in the round include Viking Global, Y Combinator's Continuity Fund, Cascade Investment (Bill Gates' investment vehicle), and General Atlantic. Though Kelly declined to specify the new valuation, a Delaware filing first spotted by Recode pegs it at $1.3 billion.

Part of the proceeds will be used to open a third lab facility.