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Dec 30, 2013

Better Skin and Hair via Synthetic Biology

  • Intrexon has agreed to work with Johnson & Johnson Innovation and J&J Consumer & Personal Products Worldwide through a R&D collaboration aimed at creating new skin and hair care products.

    “By combining Intrexon's synthetic biology approaches with the capabilities at Johnson & Johnson, we believe that there are multiple areas for new product exploration,” said Randal J. Kirk, chairman and CEO of Intrexon.

    Although Intrexon has developed several core technologies, company officials referred to its UltraVector® platform in the J&J deal. Intrexon describes UltraVector as an operating system that involves DNA construction technologies, cellular and protein engineering, computational models and statistical methods.

    “[The platform can] facilitate the rapid design, testing, and production of complex biological systems,” explained a company spokesperson. “In addition to hosting all of the design, build and testing capabilities within one cohesive platform, UltraVector learns by amassing a wealth of data over iterative experiments in this process. The platform is also capable of incorporating supplementary technologies, which can be selectively utilized depending on the desired biofunction.”

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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