Grower of GM Arctic apples sold to biotech company

( File )

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., Summerland, British Columbia, the grower and marketer of bioengineered Arctic non-browning apple varieties, has been purchased by TS Biotechnology Holdings LLC.

TS Biotechnology is an affiliate of Third Security LLC, a venture capital firm led by R.J. Kirk, executive chairman of Intrexon, Okanagan Specialty Fruit’s (OSF) previous owner. Intrexon is a biotech company.

Intrexon, Germantown, Md., the owner of OSF through Intrexon Produce Holdings Inc., announced Jan. 2 it planned to sell the apple grower and other non-healthcare assets. The transaction closed Jan. 31, according to a news release.

“R.J. Kirk is a powerful champion of our Arctic apples and we are thrilled to continue our partnership with him at Third Security,” Neal Carter, OSF founder, said in the release. “Collaboration with Third Security will facilitate our continued success as we further expand into retail and foodservice, enhancing our ability to deliver more apples in more places.” 

OSF is focused on expanding the Arctic apple’s reach into new marketplaces.

“The success of OSF’s Arctic apple is ground-breaking for the produce industry and for bioengineering science,” Kirk, founder and CEO of Third Security, said in the release. “We are excited to add OSF’s innovation and passion to our portfolio.”  

OSF sells sliced Arctic Granny and Arctic Golden apples. It also markets ApBitz, dried apple snacks. The company has received approval to market Arctic Fujis as well. While the company has marketed whole Arctic apples at retail in the past, a company spokeswoman said they are not available whole anymore.

Related stories:

Fresh Summit: an educational platform for Arctic apples

Arctic apple’s rising production allows for foodservice growth

Maker of Arctic apple acquired