Touchlight to break ground on high-capacity DNA facility

Once operational in 2022, the facility will have the capacity to manufacture up to 1 kg of GMP DNA per month

Touchlight, a biotechnology company developing enzymatic DNA for genetic medicine, has received planning approval for breaking ground on a research and manufacturing facility in Hampton, UK.

The project will include the repair and renovation of a remaining part of the Morelands and Riverdale Buildings, a former Victorian water works on the River Thames. The facility will house 11 DNA production suites, bringing the total on site to 15 and more than tripling the company’s London-based DNA manufacturing capacity.

The expansion comes in response to growing demand for DNA, driven by the advent of mRNA and DNA vaccines, alongside cell and gene therapies. Once operational in 2022, the facility will have the capacity to manufacture up to 1 kg of GMP DNA per month.

The benchtop scale of the company’s proprietary dbDNA (doggybone DNA) technology enables a total facility footprint of 7500 sqft, which it claims is much smaller than the space required by conventional bioreactor-based plasmid DNA manufacture.

This project will support the company’s continued growth, alongside the addition of up to 60 employees, through the provision of additional essential laboratory and office space.

Jonny Ohlson, Executive Chairman of Touchlight, said: “Touchlight was founded 14 years ago based on a belief that DNA was destined to underpin the next generation of medicines, and these have now truly come of age. The expansion of our Hampton facility is integral to our mission to support this genetic medicine revolution, meeting the explosion in demand for DNA by providing globally unrivalled manufacturing capacity.”

Munira Wilson, MP for Twickenham, said: “It is fantastic to see the ongoing restoration of the Grade II listed Morelands and Riverdale Victorian pumping station in Hampton. Touchlight is bringing the buildings back to life and, while doing so, providing excellent local employment opportunities and playing a significant role in positioning the UK as a global leader in genetic medicines.”