On April 21, a report was released from Seeking Alpha condemning Intrexon (stock symbol: XON) as a failed biotech investment corporation. For the anti-GMO movement, this is a moment to celebrate. Intrexon, the owner of the genetically engineered (GE) Salmon, the GE Arctic Apple and the GE Mosquito has been financially exposed. The report titled “The Public Markets Theranos Part 1: Zika Virus Hype is Nonsensical” is alleged to be the reason Intrexon’s stock’s plummeted 26 percent by the time the stock market closed on April 21. Although Intrexon’s stock has fluctuated since then, as of April 26, the stocks have dropped below the closing and have not recovered.
Intrexon is in the hot seat. Three separate law firms Goldberg Law PC, Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC & Harwood Feffer LLP are opening investigations as to whether Intrexon provided misleading information to investors violating Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Their cases are open to those who owned stock of Intrexon for a class action lawsuit against the company.
In a move that could indicate nervousness, Intrexon published a press release on their website the following day (April 22) claiming they are “taking appropriate steps” and that “Intrexon believes that it is the target of a campaign to manipulate trading in the company’s securities, interfere with the company’s business operations, and destroy the reputation of the company and its chairman and CEO.”
Intrexon should be nervous. In addition to their stocks falling, Costco, Red Lobster, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Kroger and Safeway have pledged not sell their GE Salmon and McDonald’s, Gerbers and Wendy’s have pledged not to sell their GE Arctic Apple thanks to public pressure garnered from organizations such as Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and Food and Water Watch.
Regarding updates on Intrexon’s genetically modified mosquito’s (GMM) created by Oxitec, just last week the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) decided to hold a nonbinding referendum for the residents of Key Haven to determine the public’s opinion about the release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes (GMM). Although nonbinding, most of the board of the FKMCD say they will stick to the public’s decision on the matter.
THE FKMCD is conducting this referendum as a response to overwhelming public opposition to the release of the GMM. Recent polls showing support for GMM’s from Politico were discovered to have been funded by Oxitec, making the question’s skewed in their favor benefiting off the fear around the Zika virus. Many community members of Key Haven and the Keys have stated publicly that they do not consent to being forced into experimentation with GMM’s and that there is not enough data on the GMM’s.
Historically, the fight against the release of GMM has been won in the Keys, with the initial proposed test site in Key West being struck down by the Keys Commission in 2012. In addition, the public comment session of the Food and Drug Administration’s Finding of No Significant Impact has been extended until May 13, 2016. With the report released on Thursday claiming that the GMM’s will be incredibly cost inefficient compared to other mosquito eradication methods and that Intrexon is a corporation that fails to make a profit, movement towards release of GMM is looking grim for Intrexon and Oxitec.
A PDF of Seeking Alpha’s report is available here.
1 Intrexon Provides Update on Recent Stock Trading Activity April 22nd 2016 http://investors.dna.com/2016-04-22-
2 Wendy’s Says NO to GMO Apple Oct 20th 2015 http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/4099/wendys-says-
3 Key Haven Residents to Vote on Genetically Modified Mosquitoes in Nonbinding Referendum April 23rd 2016
4 The Fate of Anti-Zika GMO Mosquitoes in the US Rests on Florida 04-22-2016