Randal J. Kirk

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Randal J. Kirk
Born (1954-03-01) March 1, 1954 (age 61)[1]
Pleasanton, California
Residence Florida[2]
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Radford University (B.A.)
University of Virginia School of Law (J.D.)
Occupation Biotech investor; CEO of Intrexon Corporation; Founder and Senior Managing Director of Third Security, LLC
Known for Success in biotech investing[3]
Home town Dublin, Virginia
Net worth Increase US $ 4.8 billion (est.)
(March 2015)[1]
Political party
Board member of

Current: ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIOP) (2011-present);
Intrexon Corporation (Chairman 2008-present);
Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: HALO) (2007-present)
Prior: Governor's Economic Development and Jobs Creation Commission (2010–2012);
Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia and Affiliated Schools (2009–2012);
Virginia Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates (2006–2012);
Board of Visitors of Radford University (2003–2009; Rector of the Board 2006-2008);
Clinical Data, Inc. (previously traded on NASDAQ prior to its acquisition by Forest Laboratories, Inc. in 2011) (2002–2011; Chairman 2004–2011);
Scios, Inc. (previously traded on NASDAQ prior to its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson) (2000–2002);
Radford University Foundation, Inc. (1998–2011);

New River Pharmaceuticals Inc. (previously traded on NASDAQ prior to its acquisition by Shire plc in 2007) (Chairman 1996-2007)
Spouse(s) N/A
Children 4[4]

Randal J. Kirk (born March 1, 1954 in Pleasanton, California) is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intrexon (NYSE: XON), a synthetic biology technology company. Kirk is cited to be one of the most successful biotech company developers in the United States, having founded General Injectables and Vaccines (GIV) and New River Pharmaceuticals, and through his service on the Boards of Directors of many biotech companies, including Clinical Data, Inc, Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc., and Scios, Inc., among others.[3][5]

Personal life[edit]

Kirk's father was an Air Force Master Sergeant, and the family moved several times during his youth. He reports he taught himself to read at age three.[6] After graduation from Dublin High School in Virginia, he worked selling cars and motorcycles, and enrolled part-time at Radford University for some business courses. He later earned a B.A. in Economics at Radford (1976), and a J.D. at the University of Virginia (1979).[4] He was admitted to the bar in 1980, and began his eleven-year practice of law in Bland County, Virginia — where he was the only attorney.[7][8]

Kirk owns a 6,900-acre (28 km2) farm in the Belspring area of Pulaski County, Virginia.[8] He supports higher education and politics. In 1999, he gave $1 million to Radford University. In addition to this donation, Kirk has served on the Board of Directors of the Radford University Foundation, Inc., as well as on the school's Board of Visitors. He was elected Rector of the Board in 2006. Kirk resigned in June 2009 and within a month in July 2009, was appointed to the University of Virginia Board of Visitors, from which he resigned in October 2012, citing his residence change to Florida.[2]

Kirk calls himself a political independent, and has generously supported both Republicans and Democrats.[9] Data published for the end of March 2009 show he donated over $200,000 to Terry McAuliffe's 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election. Since 1999 he donated $1.8 million to candidates for state office in Virginia, principally to Democrats.[10][11] Since 1994 he has donated $183,250 in federal elections.[12]

The June 2006 issue of Virginia Business magazine listed him as the 12th-richest Virginian, with a net worth of $700 million.[13] His mid-2007 net worth was estimated at $1.2 billion, making him the 6th richest Virginian.[14][15][16] In mid-2008, his net worth was estimated at $1.6 billion.[17] In 2013, Forbes listed him as the 613th richest person in the world, with a net worth of $2.4 billion.[1]

Business milestones[edit]

In 1983, along with John Gregory, Kirk founded General Injectables and Vaccines (GIV), a Bland County-based next-day supplier of medical supplies to doctors. In the mid-1990s, the successful company spun off King Pharmaceuticals, a Bristol, Tennessee-based company that manufactured drugs that GIV distributed.[18] Kirk and Gregory split, with Kirk keeping control at GIV and Gregory leading King. In 1998, Kirk and his ownership team sold GIV to Henry Schein, Inc. for approximately $65 million cash, with $25 million in deferred payments.[19]

Kirk founded New River Pharmaceuticals Inc., a company that developed technology to make existing drugs safer and more resistant to abuse, and took the company public in 2004.[20] The company developed and won FDA approval for Vyvanse, an attention deficit disorder treatment, in 2007,[21] shortly after Kirk sold the company to Shire plc for $2.6 billion.[22] He owned more than half the company at the time.[8]

In 1999, Kirk began a company called Third Security, LLC, a Radford-based investment firm. Third Security operates as a long-term venture capital fund, "pouring money into startup biotechs for equity or board positions, and remaining with them until they go public or sell out to a strategic buyer."[18] Kirk, however, prefers not to be called a VC. "It's not venture capital; it's not private equity. They're true capitalists. They put money out, they want to know how much is coming back and that kind of jazz," he says. "We're really looking for opportunities where, through our personal efforts, we can add value."[18] In 2004, Third Security combined with Carilion Health System and the Virginia Tech Foundation to create NewVa Capital Partners, a private equity/venture capital fund designed to support private businessmen operating in Southwest Virginia or willing to relocate to the region. Kirk intentionally keeps the number of investments at Third Security relatively small, another way, he insists, he's different from conventional venture funds. "The main thing we look for is, if we believe we can try to help, then we can add value through our personal efforts," he says. "If we're not adding value ourselves, there's not a reason for us to be working in this thing. If we're going to live and sleep and breathe this thing for a decade, we've really got to love it."[18]

Kirk was on the board of Fremont, California-based Scios Inc. when it was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2003 for approximately $2.4 billion.[23] More recently, he served as chairman and majority shareholder of Newton, MA.-based Clinical Data, Inc., an antidepressant drug developer that was acquired by New York-based Forest Laboratories Inc. for $1.2 billion in 2011.[18]

Kirk is currently the CEO of Intrexon Corporation, a privately held, synthetic biology company founded in 1998 by Thomas Reed in his last year at the University of Cincinnati, where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in molecular and developmental biology.[18]

He says that the money can come easily if you find something you love “and that society finds valuable.”[24]

His new companies have avoided venture capital.[25]


  1. ^ a b c "The World's Billionaires". Forbes. March 2013. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Jenna (25 October 2012). "Randal J. Kirk resigns from the U-Va. Board of Visitors". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Langreth, Robert; Herper, Matthew (22 February 2011). "The Next Big Move For The Smartest Biotech Investor". Forbes. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Randal Kirk". Forbes. Archived from the original on 25 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Herper, Matthew (22 February 2011). "Is Randal J. Kirk Biotech's Best Investor?". Forbes. Archived from the original on 24 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "#468 Randal Kirk". The World's Billionaires 2009 (Forbes.com, Forbes). March 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  7. ^ Tucker, Rob (May 1999). "Enjoying the Ride". RU Magazine - the magazine of Radford University (Radford, Virginia: Radford University). Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  8. ^ a b c Greenberg, Duncan (October 8, 2007). "Flying Solo". Forbes. p. 200. Retrieved 2009-04-22.  volume 180, issue 7
  9. ^ Manese-Lee, Angela; Paul Dellinger (February 21, 2007). "Meet Randal J. Kirk, Southwest Virginia's first billionaire. The company's founder and chief executive stands to make a boatload when his ship comes in.". Roanoke Times. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  10. ^ Meola, Olympia; Tyler Whitley (April 17, 2009). "Bill Clinton, Trump among McAuliffe’s donors". Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia). Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  11. ^ "Money Out (Contributions): Randal J Kirk". Virginia Public Access Project. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  12. ^ "OpenSecrets - Donor Lookup: Find Individual and Soft Money Contributors". Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  13. ^ Milligan, Jack (June 2006). "The 2006 Virginia 100 - Feathering his nest - Randal J. Kirk builds companies and fortunes". Virginia Business Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-22. "I love the purity of these birds, which are neither domesticated nor stereotypical…,” he says. "They are wild animals that can be coaxed into a mutually productive relationship with man. The experience of holding a raptor on one’s wrist is like looking into the eyes of a lion — but with considerably less risk.” Falconry takes Kirk away from the pressures of running an up-and-coming biotech firm and raising money for a potential presidential bid by former Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner. [dead link]
  14. ^ Squires, Paula (June 2007). "The 2007 Virginia 100: For the rich, it was a year of buyouts and beneficence". Virginia Business Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-22. The state's newest billionaire, Randal J. Kirk, bumped his net worth from $700 million to $1.2 billion after selling his Radford-based biotechnology firm for more than $2 billion. [dead link]
  15. ^ "The 2007 Virginia 100". Virginia Business Magazine. June 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 6th wealthiest Virginian [dead link] 6th wealthiest Virginian
  16. ^ "Virginia Business Magazine: 2007 Virginia 100 - Pt. 1". Virginia Business Magazine. June 2007. Retrieved 2009-04-22. RANDAL J. KIRK Radford ... Age: 53 As buyouts go, the numbers were pretty impressive: $1.2 billion for Kirk's 50 percent share in New River Pharmaceuticals, or $64 per share for stock that sold for as little as $8 per share during its IPO in 2004. Kirk, founder, chairman and CEO of New River Pharmaceuticals, started the company 11 years ago. In April, United Kingdom-based Shire PLC bought it for $2.6 billion. The attraction: access to Vyvanese, a new drug for attention deficit disorder with abuse-resistant qualities. The deal bumped Kirk's net worth from $700 million in 2006 to more than $1 billion. And his deal-making days aren't over. Kirk tells Virginia Business that the team at Third Security LLC in Radford, a private investment management firm he started in 1999, has more irons in the fire. It has opened an office in San Francisco and is working with seven portfolio companies, including Clinical Data Inc. (Nasdaq: CLDA). Third Security owns 42 percent of the Rhode Island company's shares. Kirk has served on the board since 2002 and is currently its chairman. Third Security also holds a position in Intrexon Corp., a private biotechnology R&D company with primary operations at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg that's expected to have a portfolio of 600 patents by next year. "So, as you can see, we have not been idle," says Kirk. In fact, he predicts future performances as impressive as New River's numbers. Kirk's four-year term as a member of the board of visitors at Radford University - where he is rector - ends this month. He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Radford in 1976 and went on to get a law degree from the University of Virginia. He has been a pivotal figure in capital fundraising for Radford and donated $1 million in 1999. Net worth: $1.2 billion Confidence: B [dead link]
  17. ^ Milligan, Jack (June 1, 2008). "The Virginia 100". Virginia Business Magazine (Richmond, Virginia: Media General). Retrieved 2009-04-22. RANDAL J. KIRK Radford. 53. It has been a big year for billionaire Randal J. Kirk. Since selling his 50 percent stake in New River Pharmaceuticals for about $1.2 billion in 2007, the entrepreneur and investment manager landed on two of Forbes’ most prestigious lists: The Forbes 400 of the richest people in America and the magazine’s list of billionaires. He continues to make headlines in Virginia as well. In February, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine named Kirk Virginia’s Outstanding Industrialist for the Year. Since the sale of New River, which concentrated on improving versions of widely prescribed drugs, he continues to work in pharmaceuticals through his private investment firm, Third Security LLC, located in Radford. Kirk has donated lots of money to political candidates and political action committees in Virginia. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, he gave $627,000 in 2007, with most of the money, $585,000, going to Democrats, including a $350,000 donation to Moving Virginia Forward, Kaine’s PAC. In 2008, he gave the PAC another $100,000. Kirk serves as rector of the board of visitors at Radford University, where he earned his undergraduate degree. Net worth: $1.6 billion Confidence: B  2008
  18. ^ a b c d e f Holley, David (24 June 2011). "Biotech billionaire". The Deal Magazine. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Henry Schein To Acquire VA-Based Marketer Of Injectables And Vaccines". Pharmaceutical Online. 5 January 1999. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "New River closes $30mm IPO". 1 August 2004. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  21. ^ Hitti, Miranda (27 February 2007). "ADHD Drug Gets FDA Approval". CBS News. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  22. ^ Lavelle, Etain (20 February 2007). "Shire to Buy New River for $2.6 Billion for Vyvanse (Update7)". Bloomberg. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  23. ^ "Johnson and Johnson Acquires Biotech Concern Scios". ICIS. 17 February 2003. Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Brown, Paul B. (April 11, 2009). "Advice in Two New Books, but Not From Talking Heads". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-22. That is almost right, says Randal J. Kirk, a biotech billionaire from Belspring, Va. He says that the money can come easily if you find something you love “and that society finds valuable.” 
  25. ^ Kirk, Randal J. (Oct 1, 2005). "Thought Leader: Room for Improvement". Pharmaceutical Executive. The VCs are just looking for some kind of evaluations pop so they can exit and get better bonuses based on the portfolios they have. The VCs have got a very short time horizon, and they want to de-risk as soon as possible. Because a VC investment is very risky the day it's made, they're looking for opportunities to monetize that as soon as possible. If they could monetize it the day after they made it and get 15 percent, then every one of them would take it. So that's their mentality. That wasn't our mentality. That's why we never allowed any VCs to become owners of New River Pharmaceuticals. We were looking at this in terms of long-term value appreciation. We knew we had a very interesting platform technology that could really produce a lot of value for society and for our shareholders, so we didn't want anything mucking that up...
    ...Randal J. Kirk is founder of New River Pharmaceuticals. He has served as the company's director since August 1996, as chairman of the board since 1996, and as president and CEO since October 2001. He has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Previously, in 1983, he co-founded General Injectables & Vaccines, a pharmaceutical distributor, and served as chairman of the board until the company was sold in 1998. He also was a member of the board of directors at Scios (recently acquired by Johnson & Johnson), between February 2000 and May 2002.