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 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