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Shakeup at Intrexon (XON) as a Subsidiary is Created and an Ex-Pfizer (PFE) Exec Exits in Reorg

3/13/2017 5:45:12 AM

Shakeup at Intrexon as a Subsidiary is Created and an Ex-Pfizer Exec Exits in Reorg March 13, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

GERMANTOWN, Md. – Shares of Intrexon Corporation (XON) are falling this morning after the company saw another shakeup in leadership. After 10 months in the role of company president, Geno Germano is leaving Intrexon.

His departure leaves Randal “R.J.” Kirk at the helm of the company, a position Germano was expected to assume at some point. Kirk had planned to drop his role as chief executive officer and remain solely as chairman of the board, but in the announcement, Kirk will remain in the CEO role as well as maintaining his position as board chairman. In a statement, Germano, a former Pfizer (PFE) executive, said Kirk is essential to the leadership of the company. He said Kirk’s vision “can be seen in the goals he sets and the tremendous resources—fiscal, technological and human.”

“It is with the foregoing in mind that it has become clear to me that RJ is integral to the day to day operation of this company and that it is therefore appropriate for him to remain in the CEO role for the foreseeable future. At the same time, I have come to realize that my preference is to work within the industry where I spent most of my life, and therefore am leaving the company to continue my career in the pharma/biopharma industry,” Germano said in a statement.

It’s not the first leadership shakeup at Intrexon in recent months. Last year, the company underwent a realignment that saw the departure of its chief operating officer and senior vice president of product development.

At the same time, Intrexon announced Germano’s decision to leave the company, Kirk also announced Intrexon was forming Precigen, Inc. Intrexon will consolidate all “health-related assets” under the subsidiary “as it considers potential strategic options to enhance shareholder value.” Kirk said the forming of Precigen is not expected to have any impact on its collaborations or clinical stage product candidates. Intrexon’s clinical pipeline for 2017 includes therapeutic candidates for advanced lymphoid malignancies, acute myeloid leukemia, pediatric brain tumors, solid tumors, oral mucositis, type 1 diabetes, wet age-related macular degeneration, Clostridium difficile infection, linear scleroderma, and cardiac disease.
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In addition to being the umbrella for all of Intrexon’s health-related collaborations, Precigen will also include the company’s 75 percent stake in its Xogenex subsidiary. Xogenex is developing what is believed to be the world's first three gene approach to cardiac disease, Intrexon said. A New Investigational New Drug Application by the end of 2017.

A search is being conducted to find a president for the new company.

Intrexon has a market cap of $2.8 billion, but it’s done so without demonstrating much in the way of clinical impact,” Endpoints John Carroll said this morning. That falls in line with criticisms Adam Feuerstein made last year about Kirk and Intrexon. In March 2016, Feuerstein said Intrexon’s its synthetic biology business venture was “all promise, no proof.” In his online criticisms, Feuerstein compared Intrexon to California-based Theranos, a company that has seen its star fall after its blood-testing technology and clinical operations have been fraught with problems. Calling Kirk a “wheeler dealer,” Feuerstein criticized the Intrexon CEO’s history in the pharmaceutical industry, decrying some of the drugs he has helped develop as being underperforming at best. Some of the drugs Feuerstein mentions include Vyvanse, which was developed by New River Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Shire (SHPGY) and the heart failure drug Natrecor, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). After Kirk sold that drug, deadly safety risks were discovered which rendered the drug virtually unusable, he said.

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