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Calyxt, Inc. (CLXT) IPO

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XXXXL People Want To Be Healthy Too

With as much as 70% of the US population either significantly overweight or simply obese, you would think it is time for them to take responsibility. But as studies have shown metabolically speaking, this is no easy task. Once the average person reaches a certain weight, the body kicks into prevent diets and other weight reduction methods from offering permanent relief.

Does being overweight prove that these people don’t care what they put in their bodies? Not at all, who doesn’t want to loose some weight and be healthy? The question is how.

Along comes Calyxt Inc. offering a gene-editing technology along with technical expertise aiming to create a paradigm shift in the delivery of healthier specialty food ingredients. We are talking about things such as healthier oils and high fiber wheat.

Trying To Do Good With GMO

Calyxt positions itself with a consumer-centric as well as commercial orientation. That starts with gene-editing technologies enabling them to provide meaningful disruption to the food and agriculture industries.

Calyxt claims its technology enables them to precisely and specifically edit a plant genome to elicit the desired traits and characteristics, resulting in a final product having no foreign DNA. This seems to be a key issue in the battle with the “no GMO” crowd.

You need to put on a white lab coat to appreciate the bioscience that allows Calyxt to compete effectively with companies like International Flavors & Fragrances and Givaudan who use synthetic chemicals to extend food products.

Calyxt also competes against the major chemical giants like DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow and Bayer. In the view of Calyxt, these guys compete with only a relatively small portion of Calyxt business and in some cases could fit the role of joint venture partners with the company. Something to think about in the future.

The term compete effectively may be a bit of a wish at Calyxt. Total revenues are less than $1 million and there are plenty of losses that go along. The term intends to compete or hopes to compete might be better choices.

Biotech Buzz or Baloney

Even if you spend your days in a white lab coat it is not always easy to understand the fine points of biotech. In this case, students of Calyxt look first to the team of five underwriters lead by CitiGroup to have performed their due diligence.

Next lets look at Calyxt management.

This starts with Chief Science Officer Daniel Voytas. This guy’s rap sheet looks more than decent having served the company for over 7 years. His bio in biotech includes a PhD in genetics from Harvard Medical College. He is one of the key inventors of the company’s technology. His academic affiliations include Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University.

Obviously, this guy is no slouch but he isn’t operating alone in some ivory tower. He is surrounded with help.

More Management Than Revenue

In addition to Daniel Voytas, the S-1 filing lists a dozen other, fully experienced and highly qualified executives or directors. Dollar revenues per member of management are about zero. As we said, Calyxt is just getting going.

Nevertheless, having a dozen disciples signing onto a young company makes a statement. Surely, it isn’t for the salary. You’ve got to believe.

These days’ lots of startup companies in the biotech field are going public to raise capital to fund research and build support facilities. Lots of these have next to nothing in revenues. This means investors are being asked to plunk down their dollars on a promise that may or may not every earn a profit.

Calyxt is one of those companies. What we do know is that the markets they are targeting global, huge in scale and the solutions being sought have not been achieved by any of their distinguished competitors. That goal simply put is to extend the productivity of agriculture and to improve the healthfulness of the foods being consumed. Bon voyage to Dr. Voytas and his 12 disciples.