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May 31, 2011

Intrexon Scores $100M to Bolster Synthetic Biology Operations

Intrexon Scores $100M to Bolster Synthetic Biology Operations

Series E financing will go toward commercializing the UltraVector platform.[© marc hericher - Fotolia.com]

  • Synthetic biology firm Intrexon closed a Series E preferred investment round of $100 million. The funding will be used to provide working capital for Intrexon’s commercial divisions and the expansion of its UltraVector® platform.

    UltraVector enables the architecture and construction of complex, integrated biofunctional systems featuring multiprogram networks and highly variable components. This technology combines DNA control systems with modular transgene design, assembly, and optimization.

    In January Ziopharm Oncology inked a deal to use UltraVector to develop and commercialize DNA-based therapeutics. Ziopharm has rights to Intrexon’s entire human in vivo effector platform with its two clinical-stage products. One candidate is in an advanced Phase I study and the other is the subject of an IND.

    After entering the partnership with Ziopharm, Intrexon acquired two firms: Agarigen and Neugenesis. The company says that given the scope of its biological synthesis platforms to produce gene programs for the control of cellular function and their scalability, its technology can be used for human therapeutics, protein production, industrial products, agricultural biotechnology, and animal science.

    This year Intrexon launched an agricultural biotechnology division in Research Triangle Park, NC, and an animal science division in Germantown, MD. These segments were set up to complement Intrexon’s already established protein production division in Foster City, CA; the human therapeutics division in Germantown, MD; its industrial products division in Burlingame, CA; and the UltraVector division in Blacksburg, VA.

    The firm's capabilities include DNA and RNA MOD engineering, which enables rapid development promotors, chromatin modifiers, bioactive RNA species, and RNA motifs for regulating stability or controlling translation initiation; protein engineering for enhanced or novel biofunctionalities such as novel enzyme inhibitors, localization signals, and fusion proteins with multivariate functionality; transcriptional control chemistry to power monogenic and multigenic systems inducible through a comprehensive library of activator ligands; genome engineering featuring stable, location-based integration that doesn't disrupt critical cellular functions; and cell system engineering, which enables controlled expression of individual traits or entire biosynthetic pathways, with subcellular positioning and enzyme control.


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