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 CDMO based in London, U.K., focused on the provision of DNA services and manufacture of enzymatically produced doggybone DNA (dbDNA™) to enable the development of genetic medicines. Touchlight provide rapid, enzymatic DNA development and manufacturing for all advanced therapy production, including mRNA, viral and non-viral gene therapy and DNA API. dbDNA is a minimal, linear, covalently closed structure, which 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. Clients can be supported from pre-clinical through development and supply, to licencing and tech transfer for use in-house.

For more information please contact:

Karen Fallen, Chief Executive Officer
Robin Bodicoat, Head of Marketing
E: info@touchlight.com
T: +44 20 8481 9200