15 October 2020

Touchlight appoints Karen Fallen as CEO of Touchlight DNA Services

  • Former Lonza President of Biologics Manufacturing joins to continue rapid expansion of DNA contract manufacturing
  • Touchlight’s synthetic dbDNA in high demand as starting material in the manufacture of advanced therapies such as mRNA vaccines and cell and gene therapies
Hampton, UK – 15 October 2020

Touchlight, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of DNA-based genetic medicines, today announces the appointment of Karen Fallen as Chief Executive Officer of Touchlight DNA Services.

Karen will apply her industry-leading experience to further the rapid expansion of Touchlight’s contract manufacturing business, which is already delivering GMP materials to third parties developing Covid-19 vaccines. Her responsibilities will include boosting manufacturing capacity and substantially extending the customer base globally.

Karen joins from Lonza, where, as President, Mammalian and Microbial Development and Manufacturing, she led a multi-billion CHF business unit, delivering year over year sustained significant growth. She has more than thirty years of industry experience, joining Celltech just prior to its acquisition by Lonza Biologics plc. Since then, Karen has worked in scientific, commercial and licencing roles of increasing seniority at Lonza Pharma & Biotech. She was appointed President of the business unit that develops and manufactures biotherapeutics for Lonza’s customers in April 2019, overseeing 4,500 staff, working across 10 sites, on three continents. In this role, Karen has successfully managed an aggressive investment plan and led the development of new innovations to support business growth ambitions.

Jonny Ohlson, founder and CEO of Touchlight, said: “To attract a leader of Karen’s calibre to Touchlight points to the tremendous trajectory this business is on. Karen brings with her a wealth of industry experience and I have no doubt she will have a transformative impact on our DNA contract manufacturing offering.”

Commenting on her appointment, Karen Fallen said: “With mRNA Covid-19 vaccines and many highly promising cell and gene therapies reliant on plasmid DNA, the spectre of global shortages looms large. Touchlight’s dbDNA technology has the potential to disrupt the entire market with the ability to manufacture substantial quantities on rapid timelines, whilst also eliminating bacterial sequences to help improve the safety profile. I’m looking forward to working with Touchlight’s outstanding team to build a world-leading solution for this critical component of so many potentially life-saving genetic medicines.”

High-resolution images are available on request.

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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, Executive Chair & Group 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