Intrexon Corporation, of Germantown, Maryland, a company that describes itself as involved in synthetic biology, has agreed to buy Oxitec, of Oxford, England, a pioneer in biological insect control.
Both of these companies have appeared in the pages of Good Fruit Grower in the last two years.
In March, Intrexon announced it had bought Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the British Columbia company that developed, and won FDA approval of, genetically engineered Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden apples (GMO), both of which have been made non-browning.
Oxitec was featured in November, 2013, for its efforts to control Mediterranean fruit fly and spotted wing drosophila using RIDL—Release of Insects with Dominant Lethality.
RIDL works like sterile insect release. But instead of using radiation to create sterile male insects that mate ineffectively with females, lethal genes inserted into a strain of insects kill the offspring of any females that the altered males mate with, according to the article in Good Fruit Grower.
Oxitec is also using the technology in Brazil to control mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, and is working on agricultural applications for control of pink bollworm, Mexican and Mediterranean fruit flies, spotted wing drosophila, diamondback moth, and tomato leafminer.
Oxitec stockholders will receive about $80 million in Intrexon stock and $80 million in cash.
In its announcement, Intrexon said it “is Powering the Bioindustrial Revolution with Better DNA (a trademarked phrase) to create biologically based products that improve the quality of life and the health of the planet.”