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Signing the agreement

Ginkgo Biosecurity launches pathogen monitoring centre in Doha

DOHA, February 28, 2024

Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, will set up the first Centre for Unified Biosecurity Excellence in Doha (CUBE-D) within Qatar Free Zones.
 
For this it has signed an agreement with Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) and Doha Venture Capital (DVC) alongside QFZ’s and DVC’s participation in the Web Summit Qatar. The ceremony was attended by Dr Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZ/DVC, Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai, Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Vice Chairman of QFZ/DVC, and Matthew McKnight, General Manager for Biosecurity, Ginkgo Bioworks, along with executives from the ministry and the three signing entities.  
 
CUBE-D’s advanced platform is expected to serve as a nucleus for global pathogen monitoring efforts and be a key hub in Ginkgo’s bioradar network. Supporting global programmes modelled in part after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveller Genomic Surveillance (TGS) programme, which tracks and analyses pathogens collected at seven international airports in the US, CUBE-D will be a foundational piece of biosecurity and health security infrastructure in Ginkgo’s multi-continent, integrated early warning system for biological threats. 
 
Support analysis of data
CUBE-D plans to support analysis of data collected from pathogen monitoring stations in both Qatar and partner countries, such as airports, municipalities, and agricultural sites by leveraging cutting-edge analytical platforms powered by artificial intelligence and developed by Ginkgo. 
 
Environmental and other anonymous, non-clinical samples will be regularly scanned for signals of emerging outbreaks, offering insight into how pathogens travel and evolve and building detection capabilities for natural, accidental, or intentional biothreats.
 
Advanced sequencing and bioinformatics tools aim to pinpoint the genetic signatures of pathogens and provide early warning for global health and national security leaders in as close to real-time as possible. 
 
Coupled with Ginkgo’s leading epidemiology and risk analytics platforms, this type of biointelligence will feed into predictive models to facilitate rapid response, such as medical countermeasures, before a biological threat impacts lives and economies. 
 
Fostering innovation
Dr Al-Sayed said: “Ginkgo’s partnership with our tech development fund, DVC, will foster innovation and enhance the overall biotech ecosystem within Qatar and the broader region. At QFZ, we are aiming to become a place of choice for companies shaping the future of the biotech industry. We look forward to supporting and collaborating with Ginkgo Bioworks in their establishment and growth in the region and beyond.”
 
Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, said: “The world needs effective biosecurity. Building hubs like CUBE-D to connect Ginkgo’s network of international biosurveillance nodes transcends regionalism and lays a foundation for the future. After all, biology doesn’t respect borders. I am proud of Ginkgo’s ability to technically and socially synthesise this global immune system, one node and hub at a time. Everybody’s health is connected, and CUBE-D is a foundational step forward for global biosecurity.”
 
McKnight said: "CUBE-D represents the next generation of biosecurity infrastructure. By leveraging lessons from Covid-19, Ginkgo is building a global bioradar system to detect a wide range of known and unknown biothreats.  As a central connectivity hub with over two-thirds of the world's population within an eight-hour flight, we believe Qatar and its free zones are ideally positioned to anchor these bioradar efforts."
 
With the new site in Doha providing expanded monitoring capabilities into the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and connecting into Ginkgo's existing network across the world, the launch of CUBE-D will bring the world closer to the goal of creating global infrastructure to protect against biological risks.
 
Growing biosecurity capabilities
Rwanda’s Minister of State for Health, Yvan Butera: “As inaugural members of Ginkgo’s global pathogen monitoring network, we are extremely supportive of expanded regional investment in high-end monitoring solutions and excited to have the opportunity to continue growing our biosecurity capabilities by leveraging partnership with the new Ginkgo CUBE facility in Doha.”  
 
The partners believe that CUBE-D will establish Qatar and its free zones as pioneers of biosecurity innovation, enabling the growth of the country’s bioeconomy by bringing highly skilled jobs and businesses to Doha, as well as bolstering biosecurity infrastructure in the region and the world by strengthening Ginkgo's global bioradar capabilities.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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