Soligenix to develop melioidosis therapy with Intrexon

Soligenix, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company and a developer of biodefense countermeasures, announced a worldwide exclusive collaboration on Wednesday with Intrexon, a synthetic biology company, to develop a treatment for melioidosis.

Soligenix plans to develop and commercialize human monoclonal antibody therapies for new infectious disease and biodefense applications for melioidosis with Intrexon's advanced antibody isolation, discovery and production technologies. Intrexon will provide discovery and development of therapeutic antibody candidates and Soligenix will undertake preclinical and clinical development, regulatory and government interactions and commercialization of products.

Melioidosis is an often lethal disease caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei, a Gram-negative bacteria that is significantly resistant to antibiotic treatments. The disease, which is endemic in Northern Australia and Southeast Asia, is considered a high-priority biodefense threat by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

"Our collaboration with Intrexon is consistent with our corporate strategy of building shareholder value through continuous evaluation of new product opportunities and acting upon those that meet Soligenix's mission of delivering disease-modifying therapies in areas of high unmet medical need," Christopher Schaber, the president and CEO of Soligenix, said. "By working with Intrexon we hope to make a potentially life-saving therapy available to patients in endemic regions and include the therapy in the national stockpiling program in case of a biowarfare event. Intrexon has a very strong track record of adding value both as a collaborator and a committed shareholder. We are very excited to join the exclusive coterie of Intrexon partner companies."

As part of the agreement, Intrexon will optimize and expand the production of melioidosis-targeting human monoclonal antibodies by applying the company's proprietary technologies and platforms.

"Soligenix has the expertise and highly focused mission we look for in all our collaborations," Randal Kirk, the chairman and CEO of Intrexon, said. "Although we are engaging with increasingly larger enterprises in health, food, energy and environment, we shall continue to explore powerful combinations with smaller, specialized companies that have great teams, grand vision and deep expertise."

Behind HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, melioidosis is the third most common cause of death in Southeast Asia.