Zymergen Announces Emerging Drug Discovery Business Enabled by One of the World’s Largest Metagenomics Databases and Proprietary Synthetic Biology Platform

Exploring natural products for innovative therapeutics

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Biotechnology company Zymergen (ZY) announced a new drug discovery business based around their proprietary synthetic biology platform and what is believed to be the world’s largest metagenomics database, combining both size and quality. This new business leverages Zymergen’s differentiated access to natural products as a source of diverse chemical matter and augments Zymergen’s existing advanced materials programs, capitalizing on years of prior research and development in synthetic biology.

Zymergen's metagenomics database - which contains a breadth and depth of metagenomic information rivaling all publicly available datasets combined - provides access to a vast reservoir of novel natural products, including molecules from uncultured microbes. With this resource, Zymergen scientists have been able to confirm currently marketed blockbuster drugs and molecules in late clinical development, and discover novel modulators of important oncology targets. By combining next-gen sequencing with proprietary machine learning and informatics, Zymergen’s platform transforms the search for structurally novel bioactive molecules from tedious screening campaigns to a rapid and accurate digital database search for a therapeutic target of interest.

“Zymergen is demonstrating the potential of a new discovery paradigm; moving from inefficient large-scale physical screening to rapid in silico database searching, which can greatly accelerate the pace of early discovery,” said Devin Scannell, VP of Innovation for Zymergen’s drug discovery business. “Whether for targeted protein degradation or traditional inhibitors, scientists are looking for access to new chemical space. Our platform provides access to molecules that have evolved to engage targets of interest with highly diverse mechanisms. In addition to extensive chemical novelty, the amount of optimization required to achieve drug-like properties for such molecules can be significantly less than for purely synthetic compounds.”

Zymergen’s initial drug discovery pipeline is focused on high-value oncology targets where precision medicine and Zymergen’s distinctive, complex molecules are expected to provide competitive and therapeutic advantages.

“We have sequenced and stored the equivalent of billions of previously unknown microbial genomes in a database that continues to grow,” said Zymergen VP of Metagenomics Oliver Liu. “Compared to companies that must rely on the same small slice of biodiversity that can be cultured in the lab, we can use our patented process to access and unlock a source for novel natural product discovery that has historically been out of reach.”

Zymergen’s position was strengthened by the acquisition of Lodo Therapeutics in mid-2021. Lodo Therapeutics brings additional expertise in metagenomics as well as an experienced drug discovery team and proprietary technology, including for natural products structure-based drug design. Their existing multi-target discovery collaboration with Genentech – part of the Roche Group – continues to build on their earlier achievements of preclinical milestones.

“We are excited about the opportunity to drive real advances in drug discovery with natural products,” said Zymergen’s interim CEO Jay Flatley. “We believe the size and diversity of our metagenomic collection - coupled with our unique bioinformatics tools and search capabilities - allows us to pursue challenging, high-value targets. This is clearly a great fit for Zymergen since our strength in synthetic biology will give us an advantage in expressing these complex molecules, but ultimately we see this as a win for patients in need of more effective treatments.”

About Zymergen
Zymergen is a biotech company that designs and produces molecules, microbes and materials for diverse end markets. We partner with nature to make better products, a better way, for a better world.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Such forward-looking statements are based on the Company’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to it on the date of this press release. In some cases, you can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “believe,” “may,” “can,” “aims,” “will,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “could,” “project,” “potential,” “opportunity,” “expect,” “designed to,” “focus” or the negative or plural of these words or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements in this press release, include but are not limited to statements regarding the potential for our drug discovery business and the expectations for our metagenomics library. Forward-looking statements may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, risks relating to our ability to successfully commercialize or generate revenue from our products; our ability to develop or execute on our new strategic plan and our ability to reduce our operating costs and extend our cash runway. These and other risks are described more fully in the Company’s filings with the SEC, including the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, and other documents the Company subsequently files with the SEC. Except to the extent required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that exist after the date on which they were made.

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