Touchlight, an enzymatic DNA production company, completed the redevelopment and expansion of its U.K. manufacturing facility, housed in a repurposed Victorian waterworks on the banks of the River Thames.
The expanded facility’s manufacturing capacity has tripled and is now capable of producing more than 8kg a year, according to Jonny Ohlson, Touchlight’s executive chair and founder, adding that this exceeds the current, but growing, global supply of plasmid DNA for genetic medicine.
The new facility has eleven suites and includes two class B filling suites with class A filling cabinets, warehousing, together with a quality control laboratory capability and reportedly has received a successful customer quality audit from a big pharma company.
“Touchlight has a long-held belief that scientists, like all creatives, function best in beautiful spaces,” he says. Whilst it may not, on the face of it, seem logical to site a GMP manufacturing facility in a waterworks that has been derelict for 70 years, the site has a large footprint of beautiful Victorian buildings which, now converted, provide a stunning and iconic facility that is an inspiring place to work.”
Mass-producing plasmid DNA
Touchlight’s proprietary doggybone DNA (dbDNA™) overcomes the technical challenges associated with efficiently mass-producing plasmid DNA, asserts Ohlson. The patented dbDNA technology produces a minimal, linear, double stranded, covalently closed DNA vector through an enzymatic manufacturing process, he explains.
“dbDNA is uniquely positioned for the rapid, synthetic, and scalable manufacture of GMP DNA using a small, simple footprint,” he says. “The technology can incorporate genes from 500bp to 20kb and accommodate sequences typically unstable as plasmid DNA in E. coli, such as those found in viral vector and mRNA production.”
Demand for DNA from biopharmaceutical companies is increasing exponentially given its critical role in genetic medicines, including mRNA vaccines and gene therapies, enabling the potential of emerging new drug classes such as gene-editing treatments and novel cancer therapies.
Touchlight officials say the company has contracts to supply many of the top ten global biopharmaceutical firms, including Pfizer, as well as Lonza.