Intrexon to acquire ActoGeniX in US$60m deal


The company has developed AcroBiotics for the targeted treatment of a range of severe diseases

Intrexon, a US specialist in synthetic biology, is to acquire ActoGeniX, a Belgian biotech company, to 'forge a new frontier in cellular therapeutics'.

Under the US$60m deal, ActoGeniX stockholders will receive approximately US$30m in cash and $30m in Intrexon common stock.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

ActoGeniX has engineered food-grade microbes (Lactococcus lactis) to generate ActoBiotics, a novel class of biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of severe diseases with a high medical need.

ActoBiotics are said to represent a novel concept for oral administration of therapeutic proteins, and are said to be safer and more effective than injectable biopharmaceuticals. They can deliver a range of therapeutic peptides and proteins, including cytokines, enzymes, hormones and monoclonal antibodies to the oral and gastrointestinal tract.

Intrexon's collaborators use a suite of technologies in cellular and gene therapies for cancer, orphan genetic disorders, blindness, infectious diseases, tissue repair, as well as synthetic biology-mediated production of APIs. The addition of the ActoGeniX platform brings two more clinical stage assets to its portfolio, the company said.

Our collective technologies have the potential to revolutionise treatment for an array of diseases

Bernard Coulie, Chief Executive of ActoGeniX, said the collective technologies of the two companies have the potential to 'revolutionise treatment for an array of diseases'.

'Our validated cGMP manufacturing process is fully scalable, and the expertise of both companies will further advance our distinctive ability to deliver one or multiple biologics through an ActoBiotic at a cost of goods comparative to small molecules,' he said.

ActoGeniX's clinical stage products include AG013, which delivers a therapeutic peptide for oral mucositis, and AG014 which secretes anti-TNF-alpha Fab to treat inflammatory bowel disease. Other ActoBiotics under development have shown positive data in animal models for allergic diseases, type 2 diabetes, as well as autoimmune disorders such as coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes.

'Utilisation of living biofactories, whether through adoptive T-cell therapies, autologous fibroblast platforms, or food-grade microbes, is one of the principal objects of the engineering of biology, which we aspire to lead at Intrexon. The outstanding team at ActoGeniX is a welcome addition to assist us in this endeavour,' said Randal Kirk, Chairman and Chief Executive of Intrexon.

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'While the applications of this novel platform are substantial and readily apparent within the health segment, its utility across our food, animal health, and consumer sectors has us equally excited.'