Pharma

Synthetic biotech company Intrexon raises $100M

Synthetic biotechnology company Intrexon — whose website is the descriptive www.dna.com — has raised $100 million that the company will use to expand its genetics technology. With the closing of its series E round of fundraising, Blacksburg, Virginia-based Intrexon has raised more than $259 million. The round was led by new, undisclosed investors. Existing investors […]

Synthetic biotechnology company Intrexon — whose website is the descriptive www.dna.com — has raised $100 million that the company will use to expand its genetics technology.

With the closing of its series E round of fundraising, Blacksburg, Virginia-based Intrexon has raised more than $259 million. The round was led by new, undisclosed investors. Existing investors including Intrexon Chairman and CEO Randal Kirk and his venture firm Third Security also participated in the round.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

The money will be directed to Intrexon’s UltraVector platform, the company’s technology used to design and construct complex transgenes to achieve certain qualities that would not typically be found in nature. The engineering can result in the enhancement of certain capabilities, improvement of safety and lowering of cost. UltraVector forms the backbone of Intrexon’s work in human therapeutics, animal science, agricultural biotechnology and industrial products.

“Given the vast scope of applications that are amenable to biological synthesis, Intrexon’s unparalleled ability to produce gene programs for the control of cellular function, and our scalability, I believe that Intrexon today represents one of the most exciting endeavors in all of life sciences,” Kirk said in a statement.

UltraVector is based in Intrexon’s Blacksburg headquarters. The company secured a position in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina with the February acquisition of Agarigen, a company that has been researching the common mushroom as a way to manufacture biologics. The company has said that compared to cell culture technologies, mushroom-made pharmaceuticals can deliver high-quality therapeutics at less cost. With the acquisition, Intrexon launched its Agricultural Biotechnology division in RTP. The mushroom technology is expected to lead to new advances in agricultural biotechnology.