11 October 2021

Touchlight expands commercial team amid rapid company growth

Touchlight, a biotechnology company pioneering enzymatic DNA production to enable the genetic medicine revolution, has announced the appointment of three new hires to expand the capabilities of its growing commercial team.

Robin Bodicoat joins as Head of Marketing, Rhona McIntyre as Head of Sales for Europe, and Julie Foster as Head of Sales for North America. Together the team brings to Touchlight more than 65 years of experience in business development and marketing in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

The appointments occur amid a period of rapid corporate growth in which Touchlight has already expanded its team by over 30%, with imminent plans to create a further 30 additional jobs. This rapid growth is driven by the extraordinary rise in global demand for DNA, and specifically Touchlight’s proprietary “doggybone” or dbDNA™, resulting from the major milestones being reached in the genetic medicines market.

Touchlight’s versatile synthetic DNA vector is well suited for application in any state-of-the-art therapy areas that are fundamentally based on DNA, including, for example, mRNA vaccines and cell and gene therapies. The list of potential applications continues to expand and advance, as recently evidenced by the regulatory authorisation of the world’s first DNA vaccine, as well as Touchlight’s collaboration with the renowned Vanderbilt University to develop synthetic DNA-based antibodies.

Commenting on the appointments:

Jonny Ohlson, Touchlight’s Executive Chairman, said: “We are happy to welcome many fantastic new team members to Touchlight, at what is a tremendously exciting time both for the Company and the whole genetic medicines industry. Our new commercial team demonstrates Touchlight’s commitment to globally reaching growth and innovation, and is another significant corporate milestone, following our substantial fundraise. We look forward to the continuing growth of both our team and our manufacturing capacity in the short term.”

Karen Fallen, Touchlight DNA Services CEO, said: “We are delighted to have such a high calibre commercial team join Touchlight at such a pivotal time in our company’s growth. I look forward to seeing the impact and transformation that they will bring to our dbDNA contract development and manufacturing organisation.

The new commercial team adds to an expanding corporate structure, which also includes several new senior appointments. In May of this year, Alistair Howes joined as Chief Financial Officer, and Janet Woffinden as the new Head of HR.

 

Appointment Biographies:

Robin Bodicoat – Head of Marketing

Robin Bodicoat joined Touchlight as Head of Marketing in September of 2021.

Robin has over 20 years’ experience across a number of industries with particular focus in Life Sciences, Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare.  Robin is highly experienced in lead generation strategy and has successfully launched marketing departments.

In his most recent role, Robin was the Marketing Director at Quotient Sciences, a leading drug development services organization focused on helping clients reduce the time and cost of bringing a drug to market. Robin also led the complete rebrand of Quotient Sciences during this period.

Robin is additionally a Board Member and Regional Chair of The Business Marketing Club and BA (Honours) in Business Studies from Sheffield Hallam University.

Julie Foster – Head of Sales, North America

Julie Foster joined Touchlight as Head of Sales, North America in 2021.

Jules has over 15 years’ experience in a variety of roles working with pharma and biotech companies on their journey through the drug development process. Prior to joining Touchlight, Jules spent the last 8 years at Lonza where she was responsible for supporting customers through preclinical to commercial supply across multiple technologies including biologics, cell and gene therapies, and small molecules.

In her most recent role, Jules was Head of the Western North American sales team for Lonza’s small molecules business, working with customers at all phases of drug development with their API and Drug Product development and manufacturing needs.

Jules holds a BSc (Honours) in Biology and an MSc from the University of Victoria, Canada

Rhona McIntyre – Head of Sales, Europe

Rhona McIntyre joined Touchlight as Head of Sales, Europe in 2021.

Rhona has devoted her 30-year career to the Pharmaceutical Services Sector supporting customers across the Drug Development process; preclinical toxicology (Inveresk Research), clinical trials (I.T.E.M. & PAREXEL), small molecule development (Carbogen Amcis) and latterly spending 8 years at Lonza Biologics.

In her most recent role, Rhona was Head of Commercial Development for Lonza’s Mammalian Launch Assets, supporting customers through the validation and commercialization of their biopharmaceutical products.

Rhona holds a BSc in Genetics from Aberdeen University and an MBA from Herriot Watt University.

 

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