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Intrexon Acquires Biopharm Company for $60M

Lactococcus lactis bacteria

Lactococcus lactis bacteria (Joint Genome Institute)

13 February 2015. Intrexon Corp., a biotechnology company in Gaithersburg, Maryland specializing in synthetic biology, is acquiring ActoGeniX, developing biologic therapies from engineered microbes. Under the deal, stockholders of ActoGeniX, based in Ghent, Belgium, are receiving $30 million in cash plus another $30 million in Intrexon stock.

ActoGeniX develops therapies from engineered microbes, particularly Lactococcus lactis bacteria, commonly used to produce yogurt and cheese. The company modifies the organisms to produce therapeutic peptides and proteins that it says are taken orally, produced efficiently, and released in the gastrointestinal tract where the are absorbed into the body from 8 to 48 hours, and with few side effects.

ActoGeniX has two products in clinical trials that Intrexon is acquiring along with the company’s technology. A peptide code-named AG013 is designed to prevent and treat oral mucositis, a complication of chemotherapy causing inflammation of the mucous membranes in the mouth. AG013 is in intermediate and late-stage trials. Another biologic code-named AG014 secretes anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha antibodies to treat inflammatory bowel disease. ActoGeniX recently completed an early-stage safety study, showing it produces the desired chemical effects in the gastrointestinal system, while being well-tolerated.

In addition, the company has biologics in preclinical development for type 2 diabetes, as well as auto-immune disorders celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. Other preclinical programs are investigating oral allergy treatments and diseases of the microbiome, the collection of microbes inhabiting the body.

Intrexon develops genetically engineered products for the pharmaceutical, food, energy, environmental, and consumer markets. The company operates several technologies derived from computational models and software that assemble DNA-based solutions on a commercial scale. The company’s RheoSwitch Therapeutic System induces expression of one or more genes with a library of ligand activators; ligands are binding and signaling molecules. Intrexon’s Laser-Enabled Analysis and Processing or LEAP provides automated, high-throughput cell imaging with laser-based cell processing.

The company says its Cell Systems Informatics platform permits faster design, testing, and learning of new genetic elements, targets, or pathways. Intrexon maintains a database of genome-scale models, bioinformatics, and computational biology tools that it applies to development of cell metabolism and signaling networks. Models of microbial to mammalian systems are used for drug discovery, development, and validation.

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