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Bio-based indigo from Huue and Ginkgo

Microbial engineering platform and strain optimization capabilities will accelerate production.

25th August 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Boston, MA, USA


Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading horizontal platform for cell programming, has announced a partnership with Huue, a California-based biotech startup pioneering sustainable bio-based dyes for the fashion industry.

Ginkgo, which recently announced a business combination with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp., serves customers across industries seeking to develop new and better products using biology. Huue will leverage Ginkgo’s platform to optimise microbe strains to accelerate production of its sustainable indigo dye.

Indigo is the dye responsible for giving denim its iconic blue, but manufacturing the dye that powers the billion pairs of jeans produced annually is responsible for over 1.4 million metric tons of CO2 and utilises toxic chemicals including benzene, formaldehyde and sodamide.

Using its proprietary biosynthetic dye-making process, Huue produces indigo that’s just as effective as conventional solutions – without the environmental impact and harmful chemicals. By leveraging Ginkgo’s microbial engineering platform and its strain optimisation capabilities, Huue expects to accelerate the production of its dyes for its first partners in 2021 and 2022.

“We are thrilled to welcome Huue onto our platform to enable them to bring sustainable practices to historically toxic manufacturing processes,” said Jason Kelly, CEO at Ginkgo Bioworks. “We believe that synthetic biology has incredible power to help virtually any industry reimagine how they approach product innovation, and we are honoured to be able to support innovators like Huue to grow their apps.”

Numerous industries use Ginkgo’s cell programming platform to find more effective, environmentally friendly ways to create products. © Business Wire

“We’re excited to work with a sustainability-minded company like Ginkgo Bioworks to bring the world’s first sustainable and scalable indigo to the denim industry,” said Michelle Zhu, CEO and co-founder at Huue. “The planet can’t wait any longer for sustainable solutions, and it’s through partnerships like this one that we’re accelerating the production of our bio-based dyes for the industries that need them the most.”

Organisations, government agencies, and companies across numerous industries use Ginkgo’s cell programming platform to find more effective, environmentally friendly ways to create products including food ingredients, fragrances, cosmetics, medicines and more. By enabling the design of organisms that can produce valuable biological products, Ginkgo helps accelerate the development of innovative, bio-based solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Based on UC Berkeley-invented bioengineering research, Huue is supported by world class investors and institutions including IndieBio, Fashion for Good, and Melinda Gates’ and Microsoft’s Female Founders Competition.



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