better DNA

Microbes play an invisible but critical role in nearly every aspect of our interconnected ecosystems, from protective bacteria that contribute to human health, to destructive microorganisms that wreak havoc on the environment.

intrexon develops new technologies and novel applications for microbes that address many of the planet’s most pressing concerns: making better use of finite natural resources, improving medical treatments, and providing alternative fuel production approaches to reinvent our energy systems.

Challenge
Traditional methods of fuel and chemical production are costly, wasteful and drive significant environmental impact.

Solution
intrexon’s methane bioconversion platform (MBP) turns natural gas into more valuable and usable energy and chemical products via single-step fermentation. This environmentally friendly production technology has the potential to transform production of drop-in fuels and rubber and plastic materials.

Challenge
Targeted biological therapies show enormous promise for disease treatment, with many available to patients today. However, treatment costs remain high while safety and efficacy remain suboptimal.

Solution
We are pioneering a new class of microbe-based biopharmaceuticals that enable expression and local delivery of disease-modifying therapeutics, including therapeutic proteins targeting multiple disease pathways. Our oral or topical administration capabilities offer the promise of safer, more economical, and more efficacious treatments than injectable biologics.

Though plants have always figured prominently in human history, our profound ability to affect deliberate, meaningful changes in plant biology reshaped the course of humankind. Domestication of grains more than 10,000 years ago marked early man’s transition from hunter-gather. Selective breeding has altered food and other crop types for many generations, facilitating growth and mobility on a massive scale.

Plant biology and ecosystems are complex. Plant health is dramatically affected by interactions with other plants and animals, microorganisms, and the environment. Our holistic approach to engineered biology offers us the ability to modulate these factors as well as direct changes to plant biology at the genomic level with unmatched precision and specificity. Through our innovative technologies we address the impact of food demand and resource scarcity, escalating challenges of our rapidly growing population and evolving ecosystem.

Challenge
About 40% of apples grown each year are wasted, primarily because of superficial damage and browning. As a result, preservatives are often used in an attempt to maintain freshness and color of prepared fruits, negatively affecting the taste and texture.

Solution
By reducing the amount of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), the enzyme that causes browning, our apples won’t brown when bitten, sliced, or bruised like conventional fruits. And it means that we can distribute pre-sliced apples, thus enabling a healthy, wholesome and convenient consumer experience.

Challenge
Drought and disease have the potential to devastate crops of all types. Flowering of vegetative crops like alfalfa reduces yield and foraging.

Solution
Our genetic control systems allow for expression of traits on-demand, delaying flowering to prolong crop foraging or to increase biomass and feed quality. This ability to switch traits on and off can also give crops a genetic edge to battle plant disease or periods of drought.

Challenge
Conventional agriculture is inadequate to meet the growing consumer demand for locally grown crops with consistent quality and year-round availability. Development of crops with improved productivity and consumer appeal through traditional means of breeding is costly, labor-intensive and slow.

Solution
Our integrated and novel approach with Botticelli™ platform enables seedless propagation of high value crops and speed to market with appealing traits for both consumers and growers.

Challenge
Effective crop production depends on both promotion of beneficial plant-microbe interactions and mitigation of the effects of harmful microbes that can lead to disease or damage.

Solution
intrexon is advancing precision engineering of plants and microbes in the context of their interactions to promote improved production of crops.

Animal and human health are inextricably linked. Whether livestock and fish that contribute to our food system, or insects in the wild, the health of non-human animals inevitably affects our own.

Use (and overuse) of antibiotics in cattle. Transmission of deadly diseases by airborne vectors like mosquitoes. Depletion of oceans due to over-fishing. Though the planetary impact of population growth is undeniable, so too is our ability to mitigate those impacts.

Precision bioengineering is the answer.

Challenge
Protein production must increase by 70% to meet the demands of global populations in 2050. Scarcity of arable land, access to water, transportation needs, antibiotic use and other factors increasingly will produce negative environmental impacts.

Solution
Our elite genetics programs advance and propagate desirable traits via selective breeding. In addition to making our elite germplasm available to breeders, we are working to enhance livestock production via stacking of engineered traits on top of elite genetics to benefit overall health, disease resistance, breeding efficiencies, feed consumption rates, and environmental impacts. The result is high-quality livestock with characteristics that improve production and increase appeal for consumers.

Challenge
Populations of ocean fish are declining and the negative impacts of open ocean traditional fish farming are growing. Reliance on antibiotics and animal exposure to marine pathogens make marine farming even more challenging.

Solution
intrexon next-generation inland fish production
Our engineered fish stocks grow faster than their wild counterparts and require less feed to reach maturity, while eliminating the need for antibiotics and removing the impact on ocean habitats.

Challenge
Infectious disease treatments and crop damage from insect pests cost billions of dollars each year. Pesticides become less effective over time, often requiring larger quantities and higher potencies to do the job. Risk to water sources, land, healthy air, and beneficial insects and animals in our ecosystems increases as a result.

Solution
Self-limiting insects
We’ve engineered self-limiting insects to pass along a gene that prevents the survival of offspring in order to control pest populations without off-target effects. Innovative, traceable biomarkers enable controlled release of engineered insects to reduce wild pest populations with minimal environmental impact.

Challenge
Medical researchers rely on mice and other small-animal disease models to predict outcomes of treatments and medications. Yet this approach cannot fully reproduce a human disease condition, impeding the development of therapeutics and diagnostic tools.

Solution
Innovative animal models with engineered traits
Animal research models can now be engineered with greater genetic precision to advance disease-specific phenotypes, improving the predictive power of clinical research and therapeutic development.

Additional Solutions

  • Engineering of animal-microbe interactions to promote health and well-being.
  • Mitigation of invasive species burdening our ecosystems.
  • Biological engineering of sustainable animal feeds that divert and reduce food waste.
  • Improved treatments for companion animals by translating cancer, diabetes and other therapies to cats, dogs and horses.

For generations, humankind has sought remedies for the ailments that threaten lives and wellbeing. Breakthroughs in medical science have given us a deeper understanding of human biology, leading to life-saving therapies, medications, and vaccines.

Nearly two decades beyond the mapping of the human genome, we are experiencing a “Post-Genome Project” renaissance. Advances in engineered biology drive interventions at the genetic level, with the potential to address conditions once thought to be beyond human understanding.

intrexon is innovating new approaches to gene and cell therapies with targeted solutions to address underlying causes of disease and advance complementary technologies. With precision biology we are working in ways previously unimagined to make treatments safer, more effective and less expensive to provide for the unmet needs of patients.

Challenge
The challenge of maintaining human health is enormous. Breakthrough discoveries over generations are improving outcomes and advancing treatment options each day. Yet treatments for complex diseases—including those that cannot be traced to a single genetic marker—remain out of reach or come with costs too great for many.

Solutions
We are dedicated to advancing the next generation of controlled, targeted, multigenic gene and cellular therapies using precision technologies to address chronic, infectious and rare diseases including cancer, cardiac disease, autoimmune and metabolic disorders. Our platform technologies also have applications for detection of biothreats and disease states, as well as preventative measures including next generation molecular vaccines.

  • Multigenic Therapy
    Many complex conditions like heart disease are the result of multiple genetic factors, rather than a single gene defect. We are pioneering a shift from monogenic to multi-gene therapies, targeting multiple genes with a single integrated therapy.
  • Point-of-Care CAR-T Cell Therapy
    Unlike other CAR-T cell therapies, our non-viral approach enables engineering of patient cells in the clinical point-of-care setting for a more rapid administration of therapy, rather than through time-consuming offsite processes for cell expansion. This approach should dramatically reduce patient treatment wait time while lowering costs.
  • Immunotherapy
    Delivering the correct dosage of a potent immune modulator to treat brain cancer is highly challenging, and carries a significant risk of adverse effects from incorrect dosing. With a pill, we can regulate the expression of administered therapies via a controlled gene switch, enabling physicians to turn an immunotherapy on or off and modulate dosage levels according to patient response.
  • Cell Therapy
    Numerous pathologies are the result of protein or molecular deficiencies. Replacement therapies provide a means to kickstart cells into producing the deficient proteins or molecules. We are advancing treatments for devastating rare skin diseases requiring engineered cells to alleviate the pathology and restore function, improving condition of the skin and providing relief for patients.
  • Molecular Vaccines
    New approaches to production and administration of vaccines addressing biothreats from emerging epidemics or bad actors are expanding the menu of medical countermeasures available to the biodefense and public health communities. Next generation DNA-based vaccines offer a wider range of immune response types against chronic and infectious diseases, as well as, production, supply chain, and administration benefits without the risk for infection.