Intrexon (XON -1.7%) has been dropped from the market's in-the-green peloton. The culprit appears to be the first field study of sterile male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Fresno, CA by Verily Life Sciences. The initiative, called the Debug Project, will assess the disease control method over a 20-week period in two neighborhoods each ~300 acres in size.
Intrexon's Oxitec unit has the same aim with OX513A. Its largest project to date is in Brazil. Studies are also underway in the Cayman Islands, Florida's Key Haven and India.
Verily's method involves treating sterile male A. aegypti mosquitoes with a bacterium called Wolbachia which interferes with female mosquitoes' reproduction. No genetic engineering is required.
Oxitec's OX513A bugs are genetically engineered so that offspring inherit a gene that causes death before reaching reproductive age.
It's too early to tell which approach will be more effective, cost efficient and scalable.
Previously: Oxitec expands mosquito control program in Brazil (May 31, 2016)
Previously: Grand Cayman signs up to use Oxitec's OX513A to suppress disease-spreading mosquitoes (May 5, 2016)