Back in 2011, FORBES profiled Randal Kirk, fresh off two billion-dollar sales of his drug companies New River Pharmaceuticals and Clinical Data. At the time, Kirk had a new company he was even more excited about: “I’ve been a biotech investor for 27 years, and Intrexon is by far the best thing I’ve ever seen,” he told FORBES’ Matt Herper.
That prediction may turn out to be correct. Kirk just took Intrexon public on Thursday at a price of $16 per share — only to see it jump to $24.73 at the market’s close, a 54.5% increase in one day. Plus, by midday on Friday, shares went up even further to $26.86. The company’s market cap is now over $2.5 billion.
That robust IPO pop has Kirk sitting pretty with his 62 million shares, more than 60% of the company. His total holding in Intrexon has overnight gone to over $1.5 billion — this for a man who already had $2.4 billion in estimated net worth.
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So what is Intrexon? It’s in the realm of “synthetic biology,” a more radical version of existing biotech genetic tweaking that includes reengineering living cells from the ground up. As my colleague Herper wrote: “One goal is to make protein drugs far more cheaply and efficiently than is possible today. Another is to transform living cells into tiny molecular factories to make everything from gasoline to construction materials. Some scientists even want to create entire new life forms from scratch.”
Kirk believes Intrexon is poised to contribute across multiple areas, including food, health, energy, and the environment. In an exclusive interview with FORBES on Friday, Kirk said, “My general investment method ha