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Intrexon Targets Zika

03/11/2016 8:00 am EST


John McCamant

Editor, Medical Technology Stock Letter

Oxitec has pioneered a targeted and innovative approach to control mosquitoes that spread disease, as well as for the control of agricultural pests that damage crops, notes John McCamant, editor of The Medical Technology Stock Letter.

Oxitec – which is a subsidiary of Intrexon (XON) – has a control program centered on the dangerous Aedes aegypti mosquito.

This mosquito is the principal vector for transmitting a number of diseases, namely Zika virus, dengue and chikungunya.

XON is currently engaging with agencies of numerous governments and non-governmental organizations, concerning the use of Oxitec’s solution to reduce or eradicate populations of this dangerous insect.

Oxitec, in our view, is the only proven, scalable vector control solution for Aedes aegypti that is ready and available now for manufacturing.

Intrexon already has existing production facilities in the UK and in Brazil, and plans are well underway for an additional larger facility in Brazil.

This new factory alone will be able to produce 60 million Oxitec male mosquitoes per week. Within five months, it is possible to generate an army of roughly 3 billion male mosquitoes from a single female mosquito.

These male mosquitoes would have the firm's self-limiting gene programming installed from the outset to reduce the wild populations of Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Near-term, XON is positioned for some important potential catalysts –- including updates on discussions with the Brazilian health agency — that may lead to full Oxitec mosquito approval in Brazil before the upcoming Olympic Games.

In our view, it’s just a matter of when, not if, for the company to receive significant contracts or grants from both government and non-government (e.g., Gates Foundation) agencies.

In addition, the company is acquiring the business of EnviroFlight and is forming a joint venture with Darling Ingredients (DAR), the world’s largest publicly-traded producer of sustainable bio-nutrients.

EnviroFlight has developed technologies which enable the rearing of non-pathogenic black soldier fly (BSF) larvae in an industrially scalable manner.

This innovative approach has considerable potential within the $60 billion global animal feed industry; it provides an environmentally-friendly, toxin-free source of nutrients for use in the aquaculture and livestock industries.

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