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Investing in Biotech

Randal Kirk, one of the only billionaires to make his money from investing in biotech, says his new synthetic biology company, Intrexon, will be the biggest thing he has ever done, says Forbes' Robert Langreth and Matthew Herper. The company is working on protein-based drugs, gene therapy, industrial enzymes, and ag-bio. "Kirk calls [lead scientist Thomas] Reed 'the Henry Ford of DNA' and says the new company will someday be the Google of the life sciences," Herper and Langreth say. Intrexon is still in the early stages with its lead drug being in early human trials. It's also working on making biofuels, bioplastics, and other consumer products, Herper and Langreth add. The company's gene therapy method involves delivering immune system proteins to targeted areas where they are needed to kill cancer cells while saving healthy tissues. It remains to be seen if Intrexon's promise will pan out, but judging from Kirk's other ventures, it may be a good bet to make, Herper and Langreth say.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.