15 October 2021

Touchlight to break ground on world’s highest-capacity DNA manufacturing facility

Touchlight, a biotechnology company pioneering enzymatic DNA production to enable the genetic medicine revolution, has received the first phase of planning approval for breaking ground on its new research and manufacturing facility in Hampton, UK.

The project will include the repair and renovation of a key remaining part of the Morelands and Riverdale Buildings, a former Victorian water works on the River Thames. The facility will house 11 new state-of-the-art DNA production suites, bringing the total on site to 15 and more than tripling Touchlight’s London-based DNA manufacturing capacity.

Touchlight’s expansion is in direct response to the growing global demand for DNA, driven in particular by the advent of mRNA and DNA vaccines, alongside cell and gene therapies. Once operational in 2022, the facility will have the capacity to manufacture up to 1 kilogram of GMP DNA per month, more than any other single site worldwide.

Despite this significant production capacity, the benchtop scale of Touchlight’s proprietary dbDNA™ (“doggybone DNA”) manufacturing technology enables a total facility footprint of just 7,500 sq ft, a fraction of the space required by conventional bioreactor-based plasmid DNA manufacture.

In addition to a significantly smaller footprint, Touchlight’s unique synthetic dbDNA platform offers numerous advantages over traditional plasmid DNA manufacture. Using enzymatic production, GMP dbDNA can be manufactured at unprecedented speed, scale and simplicity, with all bacterial sequences eliminated, allowing for improved safety and efficacy.

This landmark building project will support Touchlight’s continued growth, alongside the addition of up to 60 new employees, through the provision of additional essential laboratory and office space. The building project is designed to respect, incorporate and sensitively build upon the heritage of the Hampton site, through the incorporation and integration of the state-of-the-art facility.

Jonny Ohlson, Executive Chairman of Touchlight, said: “Touchlight was founded 14 years ago based on a belief that DNA was destined to underpin the next generation of medicines, and these have now truly come of age. The expansion of our Hampton facility is integral to our mission to support this genetic medicine revolution, meeting the explosion in demand for DNA by providing globally unrivalled manufacturing capacity.”

Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham, who visited Touchlight to support the project, commented: “It is fantastic to see the ongoing restoration of the Grade II listed Morelands and Riverdale Victorian pumping station in Hampton. Touchlight is bringing the buildings back to life and, while doing so, providing excellent local employment opportunities and playing a significant role in positioning the UK as a global leader in genetic medicines.”

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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