Today, Intrexon Corporation announced that it has launched a tender offer to acquire the remaining stake in Exemplar Genetics, which it did not acquire through its purchase of Trans Ova Genetics.
Exemplar is focused on enabling the study of life-threatening human diseases. By using its proprietary technologies in animal genetics, the company has developed a broad pipeline of transgenic swine models for research and development of heart disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis, cardiac arrhythmia, neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders.
The companies did not disclose financial details of the transaction.
“Generating reliable platforms to investigate human pathologies and test the efficacy of potential treatments is essential to progress in medical research,” said John R. Swart, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Exemplar Genetics. “We believe our cutting-edge genetic engineering capabilities combined with the power of Intrexon’s synthetic biology technology platform have the potential to break new ground in creating animal models that more closely replicate human diseases.”
Exemplar uses its own gene modification technology and production system to create custom designed swine models. The company said that miniature swine represent a powerful investigational platform since they are anatomically similar to humans and surpass several limitations of murine systems, including lack of translation and differences in size and metabolism.
“Disease models enabled by Exemplar’s capabilities have the potential to facilitate development of therapeutic solutions as well as more accurately assess their effectiveness in addressing the underlying causes of rare genetic diseases,” said Mark J. Pykett, VMD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Agilis Biotherapeutics, an Exclusive Channel Collaboration partner of Intrexon. “In particular, swine models that more closely resemble human anatomy and emulate difficult to treat disorders such as Friedreich’s ataxia, a genetic neuromuscular disorder and Agilis’ main focus today, could offer distinct advantages in engineering therapeutics to help improve patients’ quality of life.”
According to Intrexon, failure rates for drug development are greater than 80 percent, and incomplete evaluations of safety or pharmacology in pre-clinical studies increase the risk of expensive clinical trial failures. Insufficient animal models represent a significant barrier to progress in the discovery of disease mechanisms, as well as development of novel diagnostics, procedures, devices, prevention strategies and therapies, particularly in therapeutic development of genetic and rare diseases.
“Exemplar’s leading technologies and expertise provide the necessary infrastructure to facilitate humanized large animal disease model development and characterization. This ground-breaking research tool enabling better predictive efficacy in the generation of novel gene- and cell-based therapies and biologics for a range of disorders will be offered exclusively to Intrexon’s channel partners along with our additional capabilities to progress collaborative programs,” said Gregory Frost, PhD, Senior Vice President and Head of Intrexon’s Health Section.
Exemplar was spun out from Trans Ova in 2009. Trans Over, a provider of bovine reproductive technologies and the largest producer and supplier of bovine embryos in North America, kept a minority stake in Exemplar. Last year, Intrexon acquired Trans Ova for over $110 million.
Source: Intrexon Corporation