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RheoGene Merger with Intrexon Corporation Creates Biotech Firm

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RheoGene, Inc. and Intrexon Corporation have announced plans to merge the two firms. The combined company will be named Intrexon Corporation and be headquartered in Blacksburg with supporting facilities in Norristown.

RheoGene has developed technology to manage gene expression; a key component of gene-based therapies. The company specializes in gene-regulation systems designed to deliver genetic control for medical applications including cellular and gene therapies, genomics and enhanced protein expression.

RheoGene’s proprietary system uses a patented small-molecule mediator that can turn genes on or off as well as adjust the level of gene activity.

Intrexon uses its UltraVector™ technology to assemble gene combinations from an extensive library of natural and engineered DNA components. The company is currently developing bio-molecules that enable researchers to adjust the activity of specific protein interactions in targeted locations within cells.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), which has provided the financial support for the company’s research and development activities will retain a seat on the board of the merged company.

According to both companies, there combination creates an advanced research and development biotechnology enterprise that is expected to establish a position in gene-based therapeutics.

“This is an exciting opportunity for RheoGene,” said RheoGene CEO Tom Tillett.

“The merger will significantly enhance our therapeutic technology and research capabilities as well as provide the resources to accelerate our lead RheoSwitch® Therapeutic System based therapeutic products for cancer and central nervous system disorders into the clinic.”

Tillett added: “RheoGene very much appreciates the support we have received from UPMC over the past three-plus years, which has been instrumental in the refinement of our technologies and launching our first set of therapeutic programs. The merger with Intrexon will position those therapeutic programs in the context of a fully integrated gene-based R&D company with access to substantial private capital.”

The management team of Intrexon will be headed by Robert Beech as chief executive officer and Tom Tillett as chief operating officer, and will include additional executives from both companies.

The merger is subject to approval by the companies’ shareholders, as well as regulatory agencies and customary closing conditions. The merger is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

Financial terms were not disclosed.