Biotech and Pharma

Intrexon CEO: Believe we’ll get OK to combat Zika in US

Intrexon CEO on Zika fix: We're ready to go now

Intrexon will ultimately get approval to combat the Zika virus in the United States, its chief executive predicted Friday.

The biotech company's subsidiary Oxitec has produced genetically modified mosquitoes that can be used to compete with normal Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit the virus. Oxitec's mosquitoes can stop the spread of Zika by passing along a gene to their offspring that makes them die young.

CEO R.J. Kirk said he's spent the past several days in Washington pressing his case.

"I'm now very sanguine that we will have approval in the U.S. eventually because I see that the leadership in the U.S. is coalescing around the idea … that we really need to eliminate or at least vastly reduce the population of the Aedes aegypti mosquito and I think they are really starting to get our technology," Kirk said in an interview with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"We're ready to go now. We're ready to deploy."

Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in a lab at the Fiocruz institute on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.
Scientists develop method to test for Zika Virus

Efficacy trials in Brazil, Panama and the Cayman Islands showed that this approach has helped reduce the Aedes aegypti population by more than 90 percent, Oxitec has said.

The virus has been spreading across the Americas and causes the birth defect microcephaly when pregnant women are infected. There has been an alarming rise of microcephaly, which results in the baby's head being significantly smaller than normal, in Zika-hit areas of Brazil.

Meanwhile, Kirk also addressed an anonymous short seller report that came out in April that questioned the company's Zika cure and its business model. Intrexon shares are down 32 percent over the past month.

"We are going to continue to operate our marvelous business," he said "We've got an extremely healthy balance sheet."

However, Wall Street analysts who say they have a difficult time trying to figure out Intrexon's business model may have a point because the company has more than three dozen partnerships, said Kirk.

"I can understand how it would be difficult for an analyst to calculate those and deliver a discounted cash flow, especially since many of our projects are so explosive in terms of valuation upon success and it will be a while before we can show you that we've succeeded."

— Reuters and CNBC's Krysia Lenzo contributed to this report.