Intrexon Begins 2020 With a New CEO and Name Change


Investors are reacting positively this morning after Maryland-based Intrexon Corporation announced a bit of a facelift to start the new year. The company is changing its name to Precigen, Inc. and tapped Helen Sabzevari as its new president and chief executive officer.

Sabzevari takes over the reins of the company from Randall Kirk, who was named executive chairman of the board of directors. She joined the company in 2017 and has served as president of the Precigen subsidiary since. As CEO, Sabzevari will be tasked with improving the lives of patients “with novel therapies that harness transformational approaches in gene and cell therapies, microbe-based biotherapeutics, and regenerative medicine.”

“I am honored to work with our highly experienced board and talented healthcare teams to advance our portfolio of clinical and preclinical assets that we believe will deliver significantly better options to patients and solve unmet needs in healthcare,” Sabzevari said in a statement.  

Kirk, who is moving into the chairman role, said he is confident that Sabzevari has the “vision, drive and commitment to lead the new Precigen into the future to continue advancement of its robust pipeline.” He added that he is highly confident in her skills to lead the company in its new direction.

In its announcement, the company said the change reflects the company’s focus on healthcare. The new Precigen will include Intrexon's wholly-owned healthcare subsidiaries Precigen, ActoBio Therapeutics, Exemplar Genetics, and its majority ownership interest in Triple-Gene, as well as equity and royalty interests in therapeutics and therapeutic platforms from other companies not under its umbrella. Also, the company said it has entered into various agreements to sell its smaller non-healthcare businesses for $65.25 million plus “certain contingent payment rights.”

Some of the non-healthcare assets sold by Intrexon, including AgBiotech and Intrexon Produce Holdings, are going to Third Security, LLC, a venture capital firm led by Kirk. Third Security acquired the assets for $53 million. Third Security also agreed to acquire $35 million worth of Intrexon’s common stock. Third Security also acquired Intrexon’s interests in Oragenics and Surterra, and the internet domain name

Intrexon also entered into an agreement to sell its interest in EnviroFlight, LLC, to Darling Ingredients, Inc. for $12.2 million.

The financial moves, combined with its existing cash-on-hand, gives the company approximately $175 million in cash, which meets the company’s year-end goal.

Two non-healthcare businesses will remain with the company: the industry-leading methane bioconversion business, MBP Titan LLC, and the established bovine genetics company, Trans Ova Genetics. The company said it will evaluate strategic and operational options for these businesses.

The company is working on completing the name change from Intrexon Corporation to Precigen, Inc. and is also changing the name of its Nasdaq symbol XON to PGEN.

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