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Joint venture with West Sacramento ties has new name

German pharmaceuticals giant Bayer and Boston-based biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks on Tuesday announced a new name for their recently launched joint venture, which includes a major research and development site in West Sacramento.

Joyn Bio will operate out of Boston, overseeing the new company's existing labs at 890 Embarcadero Drive in West Sacramento.

The joint venture was announced in September, with a reported $100 million in Series A investment funding.

Officials said Joyn Bio’s initial, primary goal is bringing advanced techniques in synthetic biology to agriculture to support the industry’s sustainability efforts, including reducing the environmental impact of nitrogen fertilizer and reducing the need for additional chemical fertilizers.

“Nitrogen fertilizer is a key component in modern agriculture, but is costly, damaging to the environment and challenging to dose precisely. We are committed to bringing innovations to the agriculture industry that give growers a smarter and more sustainable way to grow our food,” Johan Kers, Joyn Bio’s head of nitrogen fixation, said in a statement.

Officials said the Joyn Bio name represents the partnering of two parent companies, “as well as the natural symbiosis between plants and microbes.”

In addition to the initial $100 million investment by Bayer, Ginkgo, and Viking Global Investors LP, Ginkgo said it is providing access to its organism design technology, laboratory and office spaces, as well as outfitting a new facility specifically for Joyn Bio.

Joyn Bio said it recently entered into an agreement for approximately 20,000 square feet of laboratory and office space within Ginkgo’s Boston Seaport facility, with up to 30 employees and forming the company headquarters.

The company said “additional research efforts” will be done at the West Sacramento facility on Embarcadero Drive. The Bayer research and development site for microbial-based solutions in agriculture comprises about 160,000 square feet and has more than 200 researchers. The site also includes an extensive greenhouse.

Joyn Bio said its West Sacramento presence will be in the recently opened “CoLaborator,” which it called “Bayer’s newest biotech startup lab space dedicated to housing and fostering innovative ventures to transform modern agriculture.” The "CoLaborator" is within the Embarcadero Drive facility.

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