Intrexon (XON) Enters into Exclusive Channel Collaborations with Two Startups

September 23, 2016 8:45 AM EDT

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Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON), a leader in the engineering and industrialization of biology to improve the quality of life and health of the planet, today announced it has entered into Exclusive Channel Collaborations (ECC) with two startups backed by the Harvest Intrexon Enterprise Fund, sponsored by Harvest Capital Strategies, LLC. Through Intrexon's proprietary ActoBiotics™ Lactococcus lactis platform, these companies will pursue new approaches to deliver disease-modifying therapies:

  • Genten Therapeutics, Inc. will center efforts on ActoBiotics™ expression of gluten peptides, alone or in combination with immunomodulatory cytokines, to reestablish immune tolerance for patients with celiac disease; and
  • CRS Bio, Inc. will focus on targeted delivery of antibodies for treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) with and without nasal polyps, by utilizing ActoBiotics™ technology to block inflammatory mediators in the nasal passage, leading to improved breathing and, importantly, patients' quality of life.

"The expansion of our portfolio with innovative high impact programs at Genten Therapeutics and CRS Bio further illustrate the significant potential of Intrexon's ActoBiotics™ platform to provide new therapeutic modalities addressing the underlying causes of difficult-to-treat conditions such as celiac disease and chronic rhinosinusitis," said Geno Germano, President of Intrexon. "The high unmet needs of these autoimmune and inflammatory disorders are ideal targets for our engineered bio-based solutions that can overcome the limitations of existing approaches."

Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder estimated to affect 1 in 100 people globally in which the body launches an immune attack on the intestinal lining when gluten is consumed. Current treatment requires lifelong adherence to a strict, gluten-free diet as well as persistent monitoring for symptoms and nutritional deficiencies. Genten Therapeutics' goal is to deliver a monotherapy through an antigen-specific induction of immune tolerance for gluten to address this high unmet medical need.

"Celiac disease presents a growing, under-diagnosed disorder in need of innovative therapeutic approaches. The utilization of ActoBiotics™ biotherapeutics as a therapy to reestablish immune tolerance to disease-causing gluten represents a promising strategy for treating the condition," noted Bana Jabri, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Research, University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

CRS is a common inflammatory condition estimated to affect over 30 million people in the United States alone that causes swelling of the sinuses and can lead to a variety of upper respiratory symptoms. Many CRS patients are unresponsive to medical therapy and the disease is also associated with high surgical failure rates, in particular for patients with nasal polyps. CRS Bio will advance a localized delivery approach with in situ production and release of single domain antibodies to reduce inflammation and nasal airway obstruction.

"Chronic rhinosinusitis affects more than 10% of the EU and US population, and often cannot be cured by current therapies. The ActoBiotics™ platform for local delivery of innovative therapy is perfectly suited to develop new approaches for CRS," stated Professor Claus Bachert, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Upper Airways Research Laboratory, Chief of Clinics ENT-Department, at Ghent University Hospital, Belgium.

Under the terms of the ECC agreements for both collaborations, Intrexon will receive a technology access fee in the form of equity equating to 25% of each startup, reimbursement for all research and development costs, as well as potential milestones and backend economics in the form of royalties.

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