Clinical Reference Laboratory & Ginkgo Bioworks Partner to Expand COVID-19 Pooled Testing in K-12 Schools

The partnership will significantly increase COVID-19 school testing capacity by up to 1.8 million students and teachers per week as in person learning begins to return

March 31, 2021 12:32 PM EDT

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LENEXA, Kan. and BOSTON, March 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Clinical Reference Laboratory ("CRL"), one of the largest privately held clinical testing laboratories in the U.S., announced today that it has partnered with Concentric by Ginkgo, the biosecurity and public health effort at Ginkgo Bioworks ("Ginkgo"), the organism company, to provide scalable pooled COVID-19 testing for thousands of K-12 schools across America that are considering the return to in-person learning. CRL's partnership will provide Concentric by Ginkgo with the capacity to test up to 1.8 million more students and teachers per week. The partnership comes after the Rockefeller Foundation recently announced an initiative with 21 testing developers, including Concentric by Ginkgo, to guide schools on providing COVID-19 testing and is intended to help implement the $10 billion allotted to routine school testing in President Biden's American Rescue Plan. 

"Pooled testing is the best strategy at this stage in the pandemic and our partnership with Ginkgo can support the reopening of thousands of schools across the country," said Robert Thompson, CEO at Clinical Reference Laboratory. "With more than 40 years in the testing diagnostics industry, CRL will leverage its extensive expertise and advanced technology to deliver timely and accurate results so every student and teacher can return to school."

CRL and Concentric by Ginkgo will support pooled COVID-19 testing in schools across several cities and states. Concentric by Ginkgo's pooled classroom testing model combines swabs from all consenting individuals in a classroom and runs them as a single test – significantly increasing testing capacity and lowering the cost of testing programs. Partnering with CRL ensures the timely and accurate delivery of results, which is particularly important to tracking and mitigating community spread should some pools test positive.

"We are excited to have CRL join our network of testing partners. Collaborating with CRL will expand our capacity significantly and enable more schools to return to in-person learning," said Jason Kelly, CEO and co-founder of Ginkgo. "This partnership and the recent funding by the Biden administration demonstrates just how impactful collaboration between public and private organizations can be in supporting this vital phase of the pandemic response. Simply put, it means that America can test every student, every week."

From high-complexity molecular diagnostic COVID-19 testing to toxicology and general lab testing, CRL performs hundreds of thousands of tests every day for clients large and small. In 2020, CRL leveraged its 40+ years of industry experience to quickly develop and commercialize its FDA-authorized CRL Rapid Response™ saliva-based COVID-19 RT-PCR test. CRL's client roster includes organizations across various industries such as major universities and school districts, top financial institutions, film and TV productions as well as casinos and more. 

To learn more about Concentric by Ginkgo or get your school district involved, head over to

About Clinical Reference Laboratory Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL) is one of the largest privately held clinical testing laboratories in the U.S., performing hundreds of thousands of tests every day for clients large and small. Our staff of more than 700 associates works around-the-clock to process and report results seven days a week for many of the largest retail, transportation, pharmaceutical, healthcare and financial service organizations in the world. From high-complexity molecular diagnostic COVID-19 testing to our toxicology and general lab testing, our partners are as diverse as the testing we perform. In late 2020, CRL acquired Confirm BioSciences, a leading provider of high-quality, comprehensive screening tools and solutions, including its health and wellness testing portfolio HealthConfirm®. CRL's mission isn't to be the most recognized laboratory partner, but to be the most trusted by providing personalized service, accurate testing, rapid turnaround time, and innovative systems and solutions. CRL is a CLIA certified and CAP accredited laboratory. Visit us at: or call 833-567-8376 for more information.

About Ginkgo Bioworks Headquartered in Boston, Ginkgo Bioworks uses the most advanced technology on the planet—biology—to grow better products. The company's cell programming platform is enabling the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, from food to fragrance to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including community testing, epidemiological tracing, vaccine development and therapeutics discovery. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Clinical Reference Laboratory; Ginkgo Bioworks

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