Oragenics, Intrexon partner on probiotics for oral disease

Oragenics has partnered with Intrexon to develop and commercialize genetically modified probiotics for the treatment of diseases of the oral cavity, throat, sinus, and esophagus.

The partnership is expected to initially focus on therapies for Behcet's disease and aphthous stomatitis. The collaborators will utilize their technical and clinical expertise with genetically modified oral microbes to pursue a novel, short-term therapeutic agent.

The companies plan to design genetically modified probiotics that will work orally, administered in, for example, lozenge form rather than through the digestive system -- thereby increasing the probability of effective treatment outcomes.

They anticipate that the therapeutics will treat oral lesions associated with Behcet's, targeting pain management and functional impairment by suppressing the inflammatory response, reducing frequency of occurrence, and avoiding the onset of new lesions. The same treatment may also be applicable in the more commonly experienced recurrent aphthuous stomatitis, better known as canker sores. Both disease states are currently only treated symptomatically and with limited success.

John Bonfiglio, PhD, president and CEO of Oragenics, was motivated by the continued success of the company's existing partnership with Intrexon, coupled with the potential market opportunity for a modified probiotic, to establish an additional collaboration with the firm.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oragenics paid Intrexon a technology access fee of $6.0 million at closing, payable in 1.35 million shares of Oragenics' common stock. In addition, Oragenics will pay to Intrexon program costs, developmental milestone fees, and commercial royalties.

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