18 November 2018

Touchlight appoints Dr. Michael Linden as Chief Scientific Officer

Touchlight Genetics Ltd, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of DNA-based genetic medicines, today announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Linden as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).

In his role Dr. Linden will be responsible for leading the Company’s discovery pipeline and translational research efforts in genetic medicine, deploying their doggybone DNA technology – a linear, minimal, covalently closed DNA vector that is produced using enzymes.

Dr. Linden brings over 20 years of experience in the field of gene therapy as well as in several senior roles in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including senior gene therapy research and leadership roles at Pfizer, where he was Head of The Genetic Medicine Institute and Vice President of Gene Therapy, developing Pfizer’s strategy to become a leader in the gene therapy field.

“I am very excited to join Touchlight. The platform that Touchlight has developed shows great promise of becoming a cornerstone for the next generation of genetic medicines,” said Dr. Linden. “I look forward to being able to play a leading role in developing this novel and potentially disruptive technology.”

Dr. Linden has also held multiple senior academic roles, most recently as Professor of Molecular Virology in the Department of Infectious Disease at King’s College London. In this role, he established a well-funded laboratory focussed on elements of AAV replication, where he led the development of a neurotropic AAV capsid platform, which was subsequently patented and license to Pfizer. Dr. Linden was also appointed Director of the University College London (UCL) Gene Therapy Consortium.

“Michael is one of the great pioneers of genetic medicine, and we are very excited to have him on board. Throughout his distinguished academic and professional career, he has driven the field forward through a commitment to scientific excellence, and we are thrilled he will now bring this experience to Touchlight,” said Jonny Ohlson, Touchlight CEO. “Touchlight has developed a world leading DNA platform, and Michael’s expertise will prove invaluable as we progress our technology and advance our collaborative programmes towards our vision of delivering genetic medicines for diseases of high unmet need.”

Touchlight recently initiated a research collaboration with Janssen Biotech, a Johnson and Johnson company, in the fields of oncology and infectious disease. This year, Touchlight also expanded into its new research and development facilities in Hampton, including a state-of-the-art GMP facility for production of its novel, linear DNA vector, “doggybone” DNA.

Dr. Linden trained in Molecular Virology at Cornell University Medical College, New York before moving to Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Over the course of his career, Dr. Linden has co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, has been the recipient of 17 grant awards, and is the inventor of multiple patents. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Spark Therapeutics, and is the current Chairman on the Board of Bravo Biotech, a Melbourne based gene therapy company.

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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, 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