Touchlight, a biotechnology company working with enzymatic DNA production for genetic medicine, has announced the extension of its fundraising round to a total of $125m. Demand for the company's proprietary synthetic DNA vector, dbDNA, has grown rapidly in the last year, it says.
The investment will be used to enable additional manufacturing capacity, R&D, and growth initiatives. Touchlight is expanding the footprint of its Hampton-based facilities to allow production of up to 1 kg of GMP DNA per month once operational in Q2 2022.
In addition, the company is significantly expanding its team this year. From a headcount of 65 in January, the company says it anticipates growth to more than 125 by the end of this 2021. This will include assembling dedicated commercial and marketing operations in the UK and North America.
The company is continuing its work on biomedical approaches through genetic medicine DNA vaccine development for both COVID-19 and head and neck cancer, alongside synthetic DNA-based antibody research in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and DARPA.
Touchlight DNA Services, the manufacturing focal point of the business, supplies GMP materials to leading players across the genetic medicines industry. The company hopes to build on this with significant further growth across viral vectors, cell therapy, mRNA and DNA vaccines.
Jonny Ohlson, Executive Chair of Touchlight, said: “As the market for genetic medicines continues to expand at pace, we believe our dbDNA technology can be a key enabler of the industry, combining our revolutionary DNA manufacturing solution with a vector that sets a new regulatory gold standard. We are delighted that our investors also see the immense opportunities the field offer.”
Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association said: “Touchlight’s pioneering DNA technology is being recognised by investors with this stellar fundraise and it’s great to see that this investment will be used to increase Touchlight’s manufacturing footprint here in the UK.”