Cows drinking water in a drying river in Isiolo country, Kenya

New collaboration on pathogen surveillance announced by CGIAR and Concentric by Ginkgo

This collaboration aims to develop and deploy novel methods for pandemic surveillance among animals and livestock


BOSTON, United States of America and NAIROBI, Kenya – Ginkgo Bioworks (NYSE: DNA), which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming and biosecurity, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a leading organization on One Health approaches, today announced that they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the intent to collaborate on pandemic surveillance work.

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to transforming food, land, and water systems in the climate crisis. Through its ILRI research institute, CGIAR works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries while ensuring better lives through livestock cultivation. ILRI plans to work closely with Ginkgo’s biosecurity and public health unit, Concentric by Ginkgo (Concentric), to identify and mitigate pathogens that originate in animals including livestock.  

As part of this agreement, Concentric and ILRI/CGIAR aim to develop a joint bio-surveillance testing program of pathogens. The current pilot phase is designed to utilise wastewater testing focused on key pathogens and antimicrobial resistant genes through passive monitoring systems beginning in Nairobi, Kenya with the view to expanding other cities within the country. 

'Zoonotic spillover events have been responsible for over half of novel epidemic diseases in recent decades. As we lay the foundation for global biosecurity infrastructure, we are thrilled to partner with ILRI to implement programs to detect and respond to future biological threats,' said Matt McKnight, General Manager, Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks.

Additionally, Concentric and ILRI plan to establish sequencing-based activities for pathogen identification and characterisation, and bioinformatics support. As Concentric and ILRI continue their partnership, data from these programs could be shared with national and international stakeholders to continue critical advancements towards global biosecurity.

'ILRI plays a pivotal role in pathogen surveillance, employing a One Health approach in collaboration with a wide range of partners. As part of the CGIAR network, the partnerships with the private sector groups enhance pandemic preparedness to detect, respond to and blunt  emerging infectious disease promptly,' said Appolinaire Djikeng, director general ILRI and senior director for CGIAR Livestock-Based Systems.

This initiative comes as part of the broader CGIAR effort via its venture space, the Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP), to co-design new collaborative opportunities between CGIAR centers and leading science-driven companies, with the aim to develop and deploy disruptive innovations to transform food systems. This partnership between Concentric and CGIAR’s ILRI center is an important step to create more opportunities between science-driven companies and research organizations to overcome the barriers often separating science and impact at scale. Through brokering this project and future joint opportunities, the A4IP and its partners drive forward the promise of multidisciplinary collaborations to break down traditional research silos to inspire action and accelerate the impact of innovation. 


About Ginkgo Bioworks 
Ginkgo Bioworks is the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, providing flexible, end-to-end services that solve challenges for organisations across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to pharmaceuticals to industrial and specialty chemicals. Ginkgo’s biosecurity and public health unit, Concentric by Ginkgo, is building global infrastructure for biosecurity to empower governments, communities, and public health leaders to prevent, detect, and respond to a wide variety of biological threats. For more information, visit and, read our blog, or follow us on social media channels such as X (the social network formerly known as Twitter (@Ginkgo and @ConcentricByGBW), Instagram (@GinkgoBioworks and @ConcentricByGinkgo), Threads (@GinkgoBioworks), or LinkedIn.


About the International Livestock Research Institute of CGIAR
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is a non-profit institution working for better lives through livestock. ILRI delivers science-based practices, provides scientific evidence and develops capacity in livestock development. Working in extensive partnerships, ILRI helps people in developing countries keep their farm animals alive and productive, increase their livestock and farm productivity in sustainable ways, find profitable markets for their animal products, and reduce the risk of livestock-related human diseases. Employing more than 600 staff and operating an annual budget of about USD100 million, ILRI is co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia and operates 11 other regional (4) and country (7) offices in Africa (Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe) and Asia (India, Nepal, China and Vietnam). Australian animal scientist Peter Doherty, a former ILRI board member and co-winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, serves as ILRI’s patron. 
ILRI is a member of CGIAR, a global research-for-development partnership conducting research in 13 centres/alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners for a food-secure future.  

CGIAR works for a world with sustainable and resilient food, land, and water systems that deliver diverse, healthy, safe, sufficient, and affordable diets, and ensure improved livelihoods and greater social equality, within planetary and regional environmental boundaries. Our mission is to deliver science and innovation that advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems in a climate crisis. One CGIAR is the integration of CGIAR’s capabilities, knowledge, assets, people, and global presence for a new era of interconnected and partnership-driven research towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

About the CGIAR Accelerate for Impact Platform
The Accelerate for Impact Platform (A4IP) is a venture space that builds on CGIAR’s legacy of Research and Innovation to co-design, accelerate and fund science-driven technologies to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. A4IP explores innovative partnership models to bridge research products from lab to market, creating demand for CGIAR science and strengthening its role in the innovation ecosystem, all while funding the most visionary teams to leverage their scientific creativity. A4IP plays a catalytic role for entrepreneurial scientists who want to be drivers of change by developing high-impact, multi-disciplinary, science-based technologies, solutions, and enterprises that make our food systems healthier, equitable, and sustainable.


Cows drinking water in a drying water in Isiolo county, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Geoffrey Njenga)