A biotech billionaire grabs microcap GenVec and its gene vector tech in buyout

Thomas D. Reed, Intrexon

After wrestling out of a delisting notice and penny stock territory last year, the tiny micro-cap biotech GenVec $GNVC has finally found the buyer it has long been looking for. Intrexon $XON, backed by biotech billionaire Randal Kirk, has swooped in to buy the Gaithersburg, MD-based company and its viral gene delivery system in an all-stock deal.

The buyout gives GenVec shareholders a payout of about $7 a share, a 54% premium over the stock price at the time the merger was announced this morning. The shareholders will also get half of any milestone money that comes its way in the next 36 months. GenVec had a market cap of only $10 million.

GenVec’s troubles date back about five years, when its gene therapy for pancreatic cancer flunked a clinical trial, raising doubts about its know-how. But last July the FDA raised a hold on its program for hearing loss, partnered with Novartis. And now Intrexon wants the gene delivery tech for its own work.

GenVec’s platform tech, says Intrexon, offers a more scalable approach with a bigger potential payload. Thomas D. Reed, PhD, Intrexon’s chief science officer commented:

“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.”

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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