Intrexon's (XON) Oxitec Large Mosquito Production Facility in Brazil
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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 its wholly owned subsidiary Oxitec has opened its new Friendly™ Aedes mosquito production facility in Piracicaba, Brazil. The new 5,000 m² facility has the capacity to produce 60 million Friendly™ Aedes per week which can help protect up to 3 million people by significantly reducing local populations of the dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Lieutenant General (Ret.) Thomas P. Bostick, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Vice President and Head of Intrexon's Environment Sector stated, "The scalability of our biological solution has taken a meaningful step forward with the inauguration of this new world-class facility in Brazil. With the rising global incidence of harmful viral infections including Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and now Mayaro, driven primarily by the bite of the dangerous Aedes aegypti, it is essential we make Oxitec's proven, unparalleled Friendly™ Aedes vector control solution more available to the many countries this disease-spreading mosquito has invaded. We continue to engage and work with numerous government agencies and non-governmental organizations to achieve this mission."
Oxitec's pioneering biological method involves the release of engineered, non-biting male mosquitoes that mate with wild females. The resulting offspring inherit a self-limiting gene preventing them from reaching adulthood and the males themselves die within days providing an eco-friendly solution that solely targets Aedes aegypti and does not persist in the environment. Oxitec will utilize a portion of the new facility's significant production capability to support its ongoing deployment program in Piracicaba's downtown area and CECAP/Eldorado district to suppress Aedes aegypti.
In conjunction with independent collaborators, Oxitec has conducted five open field trials of its self-limiting mosquitoes in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands. Each trial led to a greater than 90% reduction of the wild Aedes aegypti population, achieving these unparalleled suppression results within six months on average. More recently, Piracicaba's Epidemiologic Surveillance service released data showing the incidence of dengue had decreased by 91% to just 12 cases in the CECAP/Eldorado district where Friendly™ Aedes mosquitoes were released, compared to a 52% reduction in the rest of the city during the same 12-month period.
Notably the public support for the Friendly™ Aedes project has been strong. A survey conducted by the CW7 Market Research Institute in mid-2016 showed that 98% of Piracicaba's citizens support the use of innovative tools to fight dengue, Zika and chikungunya, and 88% support the use of Friendly™ Aedes.
"This Friendly™ Aedes facility increases our current production capacity 30-fold in Brazil", says Glen Slade, Oxitec's VP and Director of Oxitec do Brasil. "This reaffirms our ability to produce Friendly™ Aedes at scale, and we are ready to expand our production even further to help protect the people of Brazil and beyond."
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