Drug Research
Drug Delivery

Intrexon to buy clinical-stage gene delivery firm GenVec

Published 25 January 2017

Intrexon has agreed to acquire clinical-stage company GenVec which has developed the AdenoVerse gene delivery technology.

Intrexon intends to integrate and expand upon GenVec’s expertise in adenoviral vectors and cGMP drug product manufacturing to enhance its broad gene transfer capabilities that encompass multiple viral and non-viral platforms.

Notably, the combined technologies have the potential to yield the next generation of adenoviral (AdV) delivery through the creation of a scalable manufacturing platform utilizing helper-dependent adenovirus with significantly higher payload capacity of >30kb, as compared to current viral delivery methods ranging from 4.5kb – 9kb.

Intrexon’s chief science officer Thomas D. Reed, Ph.D. said: “Our acquisition of GenVec will mark our continuing commitment to add gene delivery platforms that complement our multigenic control systems.

“Intrexon’s proficiency in using various viral as well as non-viral transfer techniques to integrate our gene programs affords us the capability to pursue an array of in vivo and ex vivo gene and cell therapy approaches, and the addition of a helper-dependent adenoviral system with a substantial payload capacity dramatically expands the types of in vivo therapeutic programs we can pursue.

“GenVec has contributed significantly to advancements in gene therapy through its AdenoVerse technology, and over 3,000 clinical trial subjects have received their therapeutics and vaccines across the globe. We are enthusiastic to begin working alongside their highly accomplished research and drug development team.”

GenVec president and CEO Douglas Swirsky said: “After a detailed and careful evaluation, our board of directors believes that this is the best alternative to maximize value for GenVec’s shareholders.

“We expect that the strong scientific synergies, coupled with Intrexon’s extensive resources, will help unlock the true potential of the AdenoVerse platform.”

Through an AdV-based vector, Intrexon has already delivered the first clinically validated transcriptional gene switch utilizing the RheoSwitch Therapeutic System to regulate the expression and concentration of a powerful cytokine, interleukin-12, to treat cancer.

Intrexon’s gene control systems combined with the array of GenVec’s AdV-based technology is projected to accelerate its ability to develop cutting-edge gene therapies that regulate in vivo expression of multiple therapeutic effectors.

Additionally, GenVec's selection of vector origins and serotypes as well as know-how in specifying cellular and tissue targets is expected to expedite the design and production of vectors that complement Intrexon’s multigene programming and focus on safety with limited off-target effect.

GenVec chief scientific officer Douglas E. Brough, Ph.D. said: “We are excited to be joining the talented team at Intrexon. Utilization of their advanced synthetic biology tools and expertise is expected to enable the development of a manufacturing approach that will greatly increase the capacity of our expression cassettes to over 30kb.

“This next-generation delivery platform is anticipated to vastly exceed other viral delivery methods and accommodate Intrexon’s advanced gene programming to target complex multi-gene disorders.”

Pursuant to the definitive agreement, upon the closing of the transaction GenVec stockholders will receive 0.297 of a share of Intrexon Common Stock in exchange for each share of GenVec common stock. This exchange ratio represents $7.00 per share of GenVec’s common stock based on Intrexon’s 5-day volume weighted average price as of January 23, 2017.

GenVec stockholders will also receive a right to contingent consideration equal to 50% of any milestone or royalty payments received within 36 months after the closing of the transaction under GenVec’s Research Collaboration and License Agreement with Novartis.

Consummation of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including GenVec stockholder approval, and is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2017.

Roth Capital Partners provided advisory services to the Board of Directors of GenVec in connection with the transaction, and Hogan Lovells is serving as legal counsel to GenVec. Thompson Hine is serving as legal counsel to Intrexon.

Source: Company Press Release