BLACKSBURG, VA--(Marketwire - October 11, 2011) - Intrexon Corporation, a privately held synthetic biology company, today announced the formation and launch of its Cell Engineering Unit (CEU) in San Diego, CA. The new unit will be under the leadership of the company's Chief Science Officer and Founder, Thomas D. Reed, Ph.D. As part of the launch, Intrexon simultaneously announced the acquisition of GT Life Sciences, Inc. and the purchase of assets comprising the LEAP cell-processing platform from Cyntellect, Inc. The two transactions provide the foundational technology, facilities, exclusive IP portfolios, and team for the new scientific unit. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.
GT Life Sciences (GTL) has been a world leader in developing comprehensive in silico models of cellular metabolism, biosynthetic pathways, and cell signaling networks responsible for controlling cell viability, productivity, and complex responses to diverse environmental stimuli. GTL recognized the utility of Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell lines as both a model for foundational cell biology studies, as well as for developing improved protein production systems. GTL has invested significantly in characterizing the CHO genome and mapping numerous high value cellular processes. Working in collaboration with BGI (previously known as the Beijing Genomics Institute), the largest genomics organization in the world, GTL published the CHO-K1 genome in the July 31, 2011 issue of Nature Biotechnology. Information derived from this seminal project has led to development of optimized media as well as the identification of key cellular processes for genomic modulation. Application of GTL's comprehensive CHO knowledge systems will provide Intrexon's Protein Production Division with a distinct advantage in the development and deployment of high value production cell lines. In addition, GTL's ability to combine genome modeling/reconstruction and advanced bioinformatics systems development in mammalian cell systems will help drive greater predictability of complex transgene designs related to therapeutics and diagnostics for Intrexon's Human Therapeutics and Animal Sciences Divisions.
The LEAP cell processing station, developed by Cyntellect, Inc., has set new standards for advancing the fields of cell analysis, purification, and processing using novel deployment of computerized imaging and laser selecting technologies. Key applications of the LEAP platform include the rapid and precise identification and selection of genetically modified mammalian cell lines that are high secretors of desirable therapeutic proteins, as well as the selective maintenance of therapeutic stem cell colonies that are the basis of advanced tissue development and regeneration.
According to Reed, Intrexon has, once again, substantially augmented its synthetic biology capabilities by acquiring leading technology companies and expertise to meet market adjacency demands. "The merger of GT Life Sciences and the purchase of the LEAP platform from Cyntellect, brings together outstanding cellular design and processing capabilities. Together, these transactions enable a fast start for our new Cell Engineering Unit." Reed continues, "We believe the combination of these technology platforms, in conjunction with our RheoSwitch® and AttSite™ Genome Engineering platforms, will enable the unprecedented development of bioproduction cell lines and cell-based therapies. We look forward to deploying these advanced capabilities in direct support of our existing and future channel partnerships."
Jonathan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., and CEO of ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc., Intrexon's exclusive channel partner for the in vivo expression of anti-cancer therapeutics, embraced Reed's comments. "As we expected, Intrexon continues to invest in expanded expertise and capabilities that will make them an even stronger partner for ZIOPHARM as we progress through discovery and into the clinic at an accelerated pace," states Lewis. "We are extremely excited and look very forward to leveraging the unique advantages of their new cell engineering unit at the earliest opportunity."
About Intrexon Corporation
Intrexon Corporation is a privately held synthetic biology company that employs modular DNA control systems to enhance capabilities, improve safety and lower cost in human therapeutics, protein production, industrial products, agricultural biotechnology, and animal science. The company's advanced transgene engineering platform enables Better DNA™ technology by combining revolutionary DNA control systems with corresponding advancements in modular transgene design, assembly and optimization. More information about the company is available at www.DNA.com.