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Daniel Loeb Comments on Intrexon Corporation
Posted by: Holly LaFon (IP Logged)
Date: January 22, 2014 01:39PM
Equity Position: Intrexon Corporation (XON) ("Intrexon") We initially invested in Intrexon in 2011 in a private round and have continued to accumulate shares since its IPO in August 2013. We believe that Intrexon is an innovation leader in synthetic biology with a unique value proposition and proven leadership team. Most attractive to us is Intrexon's potential to transform multiple industries, including the health, food, and energy markets.
Synthetic biology is an emerging discipline that applies engineering design principles to biologic systems. Broadly speaking, synthetic biology is about the design, modification, and regulation of gene programs to produce a desired outcome, such as the production of a novel antibody from a cell culture, the optimization of a specific gene trait in crops, or the amplification of wild type natural gas metabolism into an industrially feasible process. Over the past 15 years, Intrexon has developed deep expertise in synthetic biology as well as the adjacent fields of process optimization and data analysis to create a unique technology platform that enables the iterative, directed improvement of experimental design.
To leverage its technology with collaborators, Intrexon has developed a unique business model that centers on Exclusive Channel Collaborations (ECCs) with partners. In exchange for providing access to their technology, Intrexon receives cost reimbursement (thus mitigating the need to raise additional external funds) and significant downstream economics. Because Intrexon's technology is scalable, its capaci ty to sign ECCs across multiple industries is limited only by the ambition of its partners. Indeed, to date, Intrexon has already signed over 15 ECCs including, notably, with Johnson & Johnson. Over the course of 2014 and beyond, we anticipate that Intrexon will sign multiple ECCs, creating a broad pipeline of projects and diversifying away from specific product risk.
Intrexon is led by Chairman and CEO Randal J. Kirk, one of the most successful healthcare leaders of all time. Kirk founded and led New River Pharmaceuticals until its acquisition by Shire, and led Clinical Data through the successful development and approval of the anti-depressant Viibryd before selling the company to Forest.
While his track record of value creation speaks for itself, we especially like that Kirk has personally invested significantly in Intrexon's success through Third Security , which owns nearly 2/3 of Intrexon's shares outstanding. While Intrexon's business model may seem foreign to the healthcare industry, it reminds us of an undisputed technology leader: Qualcomm. Qualcomm out-licenses its CDMA technology and in return receives significant economics from its partners upon commercialization; the explosive growth of the global wireless communication market and its dominant position has driven Qualcomm to a $125 billion market cap. W hile we aren't saying that Intrexon will become a $125 billion company overnight, we will note the following two points: (1) the manipulation of DNA and gene sequences to produce beneficial outcomes is a well-established paradigm; (2) the global health, food, and energy markets dwarf the wireless communication market in size
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