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Why is Intrexon (XON) Stock Down Today?

Shares of biotech firm Intrexon XON have plunged over 23% today as the company's Oxitec subsidiary gears up to test its mosquito control system in Florida. Growing concerns about the safety of the technique, as well as a damaging new short-selling report, have sent the stock sliding.

Mosquito control has been a hot topic ever since the outbreak of the Zika virus in South America. The virus, which has no cure and is suspected to be responsible for severe birth abnormalities when a pregnant mother is infected, is spread through contact with the Aeds aegypti species of mosquito.

(Also read: These Two Companies Are Working On The Zika Virus Cure)

Oxitec's control system includes the release of a genetically modified strain of mosquito that would breed infertile offspring. The basic idea is that the more this new strain breeds with wild populations, the quicker the species dies off.

The company has been working on a trial for nearly seven years and hopes to receive FDA approval to test in controlled areas of Florida within the next three months. Over 10,000 people have signed an www.causes.com/campa/BPTaX">online petition to the FDA to stop the release.

Even more importantly, shares plunged today as investors reacted to a scorching report on SeekingAlpha. The site's short-selling research team published the first section of an 8-part mini-series on Intrexon, calling into question the legitimacy of the gene modification technique and asserting that the “hype” surrounding the Zika virus is unwarranted.

“Smart money is hitting the "eject" button and leaving retail investors holding the bag,” the report said.

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INTREXON CORP (XON): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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