Intrexon purchases assets and operations of Avalon Pharmaceutical

Intrexon Corporation, a privately held life sciences company focused on modular DNA control systems for biotherapeutics and other industry sectors, today announced the purchase of assets and operations of Avalon Pharmaceutical, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clinical Data, Inc. As part of the transaction, Intrexon has purchased substantially all of the equipment and assumed the lease of Avalon’s industry-leading bioassay facility in Germantown, MD, while Clinical Data retains rights to Avalon’s intellectual property, including rights to the AvalonRx® biomarker discovery platform and oncology programs. In addition, Intrexon has entered into an agreement that enables Clinical Data to continue to advance programs that are currently in progress at the Avalon facility. A number of Avalon scientists and technicians will be joining Intrexon and continuing to work at the Maryland location.

“This is a defining transaction for Intrexon and potentially our industry,” stated Thomas Reed, Ph.D., the company’s Founder and Chief Science Officer. “It brings together two highly advanced platforms that are also highly complementary.” According to Reed the Avalon operational platform is capable of rapidly processing large sets of complex bioassays using sophisticated automation systems and know-how. He emphasized, “Avalon did an outstanding job of building the most advanced bioassay platform available. It hits the sweet spot between high volume and bioassay complexity.” Reed continued, “This is an ideal match for Intrexon’s upstream UltraVector® platform which enables the high volume, modular design and production of complex transgenes. The integration of the two platforms creates an unparalleled, end-to-end capacity to rapidly design, produce, test and optimize a broad spectrum of candidate biologics, including controllable transgene systems, reprogrammed cell lines and many different types of recombinant proteins.”

Sunil Chada, Ph.D., Intrexon’s Senior Vice-President of Translational Medicine, provided further commentary from a clinical development perspective, “We have many biotherapeutic candidates currently in the preclinical evaluation phase, with numerous others entering our pipeline. The integration of the two platforms will enable us to test those candidates at a much faster rate and against a much larger number of high value targets. Our overall objective is to substantially reduce the time and cost required to identify our most promising lead candidates while also capturing very robust data sets in support of our anticipated regulatory filings.”

The Maryland site will become the location for Intrexon’s Human Therapeutics Division. The company has already located its Protein Production Division in San Francisco with ready access to the area’s top-tier bioprocessing resources and capabilities. According to Marcelo Quiroga, Intrexon’s Chief Operating Officer, such geographic positioning enables world-class execution at the division level. “We want our commercial divisions to function as fully empowered business units with access to the best and brightest in their respective disciplines, “ he emphasized. “This requires being centered in the very best locations for executing their divisional strategies and associated recruiting plans.” Quiroga indicated that the company is currently forming two additional divisions focused on agricultural biotech and industrial enzymes. The locations of those divisions have not been disclosed. He concluded, “Meanwhile, we continue to expand and enhance our modular DNA vector design and production facility in Blacksburg, which remains at the core of our R&D initiatives and provides ongoing services to all of our commercial divisions.”


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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