8 February 2022

AskBio and Touchlight Restructure Joint Venture

Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), a gene therapy company wholly owned and independently operated as a subsidiary of Bayer AG, and Touchlight, a biotechnology company pioneering enzymatic DNA production, have announced a revised structure to their former joint venture, Touchlight AAV.

Under the revised arrangement implemented on 1 February 2022, both parties benefit from co-exclusive rights to independently supply the Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) market with doggybone DNA (dbDNA™) through their respective independently owned Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisations (CDMO).

Additionally, AskBio has secured 100 percent ownership of the San Sebastian manufacturing site for its production of research, clinical and commercial AAV dbDNA. It will be operated through the former Touchlight AAV organization, which will be rebranded and operate as TAAV, as part of the restructure. TAAV will retain its right to manufacture AAV dbDNA both for AskBio’s internal product development pipeline as well as continuing to provide AAV dbDNA to third-party customers from their new, recently completed state-of-the-art facility in San Sebastian, Spain.

Through the transaction, Touchlight regains co-exclusive rights to manufacture and sell its proprietary technology, dbDNA for AAV production.

Touchlight DNA Services, the CDMO arm of the Touchlight group, supplies services, development and GMP materials across viral vectors, cell therapy, mRNA and DNA vaccines, which now expands its offering into the AAV market.

Demand for dbDNA has grown rapidly in the last year and the technology promises to revolutionise how genetic medicine is developed and manufactured. As a result of these transactions, both organizations expect continued expansion and significant growth of their provision of dbDNA to the AAV market.

dbDNA is a linear, double stranded, covalently closed DNA molecule which is produced in an enzymatic manufacturing process. It has the potential to enable faster, safer and more scalable DNA production than other traditional methods without contamination of the plasmid DNA backbone.

Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

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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 DNA” 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.

Issued for and on behalf of Touchlight by Instinctif Partners.

For more information please contact:

Jonny Ohlson, Executive Chair & Group CEO Tim Watson
Robin Bodicoat, Head of Marketing Agnes Stephens
E: info@touchlight.com E: touchlight@instinctif.com
T: +44 20 8481 9200 T: +44 20 7457 2020