Of course, it has also been to keep a large amount of control in the companies he founds, leading to his majority share of newly-public Intrexon. Kirk credits enthusiasm for the company as “the chief reason” for investing so heavily in one endeavor.
That worked for Clinical Data, which Kirk sold to Forest Laboratories for $1.2 billion in 2011, and New River Pharmaceutical, which went to Shire for $2.6 billion in 2007. Both benefited from a successful drug (an attention deficit disorder medication and a depression medication, respectively). But Intrexon is selling even greater potential, and investors know it. FierceBiotech’s John Carroll called this a “sizzling market for biotech IPOs.”
Kirk doesn’t see any particular movement on that sector of stocks, but does admit that “more investment capital has moved into biotech this year in the search for higher returns.” Clearly the market likes what Intrexon is selling, even if the company recorded a net loss in 2012 of $103 million on $14 million in revenue.
“That so many [investors] liked Intrexon well enough to invest is of course satisfying to a degree,” said Kirk, “but what I mostly feel now is the obligation to deliver results that will reward their tangible expressions of confidence.”
Kirk certainly has the track record to do so, although with a $2.5 billion market cap after 24 hours, he has a lot to live up to.