Touchlight appoints Dr. Helen Horton as Chief Research Officer

  • Former J&J Senior Scientific Director and immunology expert joins at a pivotal time
  • Touchlight driving its dbDNA technology towards clinical development in therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines


Hampton, UK – 27 April 2020 – Touchlight, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of DNA-based genetic medicines, today announces the appointment of Dr. Helen Horton as Chief Research Officer.

Helen will be responsible for developing a pipeline of products that leverage Touchlight’s “doggybone” DNA (dbDNA™) platform, both in-house and with partners, for the Company’s therapeutic arm, Touchlight Genetics.

Dr. Horton joins from Johnson & Johnson, where, as a Senior Scientific Director, she directed immune strategies aimed at curing chronic viral infections and advanced several programmes into the clinic. She has over twenty years of experience in immunogenetics, immune modulation, and infectious diseases.

Prior to Johnson and Johnson, Helen worked as Associate Professor at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle (WA), and as Affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Seattle. Helen has a PhD in Biology from the University of York, and a BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry and Pharmacology from the University of Leeds.

Jonny Ohlson, founder and CEO of Touchlight, said: “Helen has vast experience in DNA vaccines. Her in-depth knowledge and expertise in this field will immediately accelerate our mission to develop the next generation of genetic medicines.”

Dr. Horton commented on her appointment: “Touchlight has a revolutionary platform with its dbDNA™ technology and a very talented team. Currently, governments are looking to genetic vaccines to help us tackle diseases such as COVID-19. I believe Touchlight’s technology will be front and centre of this fight which is why I am excited to be joining at this time.”


High-resolution images are available on request.

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Notes to Editors

About Touchlight

Touchlight is a privately-owned biotechnology company based in London, U.K., focussed on the discovery and development of DNA-based genetic medicines, including DNA vaccines and gene therapies. Touchlight has developed a novel, synthetic DNA vector known as “doggybone” or dbDNA™.

dbDNA™ is a minimal, linear, covalently closed structure, that eliminates bacterial sequences. Touchlight’s revolutionary enzymatic production platform enables unprecedented speed, scale, and the ability to target genes with a size and complexity that is impossible with current technologies.

Touchlight is applying dbDNA across advanced therapeutic modalities, both in-house and with partners. The company also provides contract manufacturing capabilities to produce dbDNA as a critical starting material for advanced therapy production through its manufacturing arm, Touchlight DNA Services.

For more information, please visit our website, www.touchlight.com, or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Issued for and on behalf of Touchlight by Instinctif Partners.
For more information please contact:

At Touchlight
Jonny Ohlson, CEO
Tommy Duncan, CBO
E: info@touchlight.com
T: +44 20 8481 9200
At Instinctif Partners
Tim Watson / Agnes Stephens / Katie Duffell
E: touchlight@instinctif.com
T: +44 20 7457 2020