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Intrexon Buys Agarigen, Creates AgBio Division

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Synthetic biology firm Intrexon today announced it has formed its Agricultural Biotechnology Division and acquired Agarigen for an undisclosed amount.

Matthew Crisp, formerly a managing director at investment firm Third Security, was appointed president of the AgBio Division and a senior vice president of Intrexon.

According to a spokesman for Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based Intrexon, while the AgBio Division had been planned for some time, independent of the Agarigen purchase, the deal facilitated and hastened the division's creation.

Agarigen, based in Durham, N.C., has developed a novel, mushroom-based expression platform for the rapid, high-yield production of recombinant proteins, based on technology developed by and acquired from Peter Romaine, a professor of plant pathology at Pennsylvania State University,

In a statement, Thomas Reed, CSO of Intrexon, said that the acquisition of Agarigen "underscores the close synergy" between Intrexon's core technology capabilities and the next generation of agbio expression platforms. Mushrooms are prodigious producers of complex proteins and are attractive biological systems "for the scalable and cost-effective production of specialized, high-value recombinant products," he said.

Crisp added that the creation of the AgBio division has been in the works since 2009.

"Many of the agbio advancements that have occurred over the past two decades are now ready for Intrexon's ability to tightly integrate and control multiple traits and genetic circuits to maximize yield, lower costs, and deliver the next wave of opportunities for agbio applications and products," he said.

The AgBio division will be based in Durham.