15 September 2021

Touchlight extends funding round to US$125M as demand for its dbDNA™ grows rapidly

Touchlight, a biotechnology company pioneering enzymatic DNA production to enable the genetic medicine revolution, today announces extension of its fundraising round to a current aggregate total of US $125 million (£92 million GBP). The round was led by Bridford Investments Limited and Novator Partners.

Demand for Touchlight’s proprietary synthetic DNA vector, dbDNA™, has grown rapidly in the last year. The latest aspect of its ongoing fundraise will be used to support Touchlight in its mission to be the world’s leading synthetic DNA manufacturer and drive the genetic medicine revolution.

Bridford and Novator will support Touchlight through investments in additional manufacturing capacity, R&D, and growth initiatives, and by leveraging their strong healthcare expertise. Touchlight is expanding the footprint of its Hampton-based facilities to enable production of up to 1 kilogram of GMP DNA per month once operational in Q2 2022.

In addition, Touchlight is significantly expanding its team this year. From a headcount of 65 in January, the Company anticipates growth to more than 125 by the end of this year. This expansion includes assembling dedicated commercial and marketing operations in the UK and North America.

Touchlight also continues to drive innovative biomedical approaches through genetic medicines, such as DNA vaccine development for both COVID-19 and head and neck cancer, alongside synthetic DNA-based antibody research in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and DARPA.

dbDNA™ (“doggybone DNA™”) is a synthetic DNA vector. The enzymatic manufacturing process for dbDNA offers multiple advantages over traditional plasmid DNA (pDNA), which is currently a key component of mRNA vaccines and gene therapies. GMP dbDNA can be produced more rapidly than pDNA (weeks versus months) and is manufactured using benchtop equipment with a significantly smaller physical and carbon footprint, making it simple and rapid to scale up as well as highly portable and amenable to technology transfer. dbDNA vectors contain no antibiotic resistance genes – a topic of increasing regulatory scrutiny.

Touchlight DNA Services, the manufacturing focal point of the Touchlight business, already supplies GMP materials to leading players across the genetic medicines industry. Touchlight expects to build on this with significant further growth across viral vectors, cell therapy, mRNA and DNA vaccines.

Jonny Ohlson, Executive Chairman of Touchlight, said: “As the market for genetic medicines continues to expand at pace, we believe our dbDNA™ technology can be a key enabler of the industry, combining our revolutionary DNA manufacturing solution with a vector that sets a new regulatory gold standard. We are delighted that our investors also see the immense opportunities the field offer.”

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association said: “Touchlight’s pioneering DNA technology is being recognised by investors with this stellar fundraise and it’s great to see that this investment will be used to increase Touchlight’s manufacturing footprint here in the UK.”

Access a PDF version of the press release here


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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