18 June 2020

Touchlight to develop biobatteries with potential to address limitations of portable power supply

Hampton, UK – 18 June 2020 – Supported by the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global) and the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), Touchlight, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of DNA-based genetic medicines, is working together with the Minteer Lab, University of Utah, to develop a DNA-enabled biobattery that could revolutionise portable and off-grid power supply.

By combining the sector experience and expertise of Prof. Shelley Minteer and her team at the University of Utah with Touchlight’s scalable DNA production capabilities, the aim is to develop a proof-of-concept DNA-enabled biobattery device over the next 24 months. It is anticipated that the device could supply up to a tenfold increase in power density compared to lithium batteries, while also being renewable, biodegradable and safer.

With the growing need for reliable and renewable portable power sources, significant research is underway to leverage novel resources and technologies to develop alternatives to lithium batteries.

Biobatteries use enzymes to generate electricity from the breakdown of complex fuels, such as carbohydrates, fatty acids and alcohols. These fuels have many associated benefits including high energy density, lower cost, abundance and renewability.

However, there are challenges with proper immobilization and stabilization of the enzymes, which make it difficult to access the full potential energy stored in the fuels. One strategy is to use DNA hydrogels to entrap the enzymes. To date, despite numerous theoretical benefits, this approach has been hamstrung by the high cost and limited scalability of DNA production.

Touchlight’s revolutionary “doggybone” DNA (dbDNA™) platform has the potential to unlock the power of DNA-enabled biobatteries. The Company’s enzymatic method can amplify any DNA template, including complex and unstable sequences, at unprecedented speed, scale and purity, so is well suited to producing DNA hydrogels.

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About Touchlight

Touchlight is a privately-owned CDMO based in London, U.K., focused on the provision of DNA services and manufacture of enzymatically produced doggybone DNA (dbDNA™) to enable the development of genetic medicines. Touchlight provide rapid, enzymatic DNA development and manufacturing for all advanced therapy production, including mRNA, viral and non-viral gene therapy and DNA API. dbDNA is a minimal, linear, covalently closed structure, which 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. Clients can be supported from pre-clinical through development and supply, to licencing and tech transfer for use in-house.

Issued for and on behalf of Touchlight by Instinctif Partners.

For more information please contact:

Karen Fallen, Chief Executive Officer Instinctif
Robin Bodicoat, Head of Marketing E: touchlight@instinctif.com
E: info@touchlight.com T: +44 20 7457 2020
T: +44 20 8481 9200