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Touchlight Genetics and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) Awarded Grant to Develop Novel Gene-Length Single-Stranded Genome Editing Template

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HAMPTON, UK, May 09, 2024 / Biotech Newswire / -- Touchlight Genetics, in partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have secured funding from Innovate UK under their Innovative Technologies: Nucleic Acid Medicines Manufacture, Round 2 call. 

As the development of genome editing technologies continues to gather pace, Touchlight has developed a novel, circular, single-stranded genome editing template known as MegaBulb DNA (mbDNA™). 

Increasing clinical activity with genome edited products is leading to significant demand for safe, efficient and manufacturable non-viral nucleic acid templates for targeted genome insertions, to replace the need for viral vectors. Touchlight’s mbDNA shows low cellular toxicity and achieves high gene-length knock-in efficiencies, outperforming other non-viral technologies and rivalling viruses. mbDNA’s enzymatic manufacture, which leverages Touchlight’s established technologies & capabilities, allows for a robust and scalable process suitable for rapid development towards GMP production – and addresses a major bottleneck for non-viral gene therapy (NVGT) development.

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This funding will enable Touchlight, with the support of NPL, to comprehensively characterise mbDNA, develop relevant analytical methods, and rapidly scale up manufacture. The project will inform specific metrics for the performance attributes of mbDNA and manufacture, which will be assessed using NPL’s reference materials and procedures. The project results will facilitate a mechanism for more efficient ssDNA production through improving mbDNA’s manufacturability, as well as increasing the productivity and flexibility of Touchlight’s  already established GMP manufacturing process.

Karen Fallen, Chief Executive Officer of Touchlight, said: “We are excited to partner with NPL to further develop our innovative mbDNA™ technology.  mbDNA’s superior knock-in efficiency and low toxicity, combined with our established GMP synthetic DNA manufacturing expertise has the potential to address current supply limitations for long single-stranded DNA, strengthening the UK's market position in the nucleic acid manufacture market for gene editing.”

Max Ryadnov, NPL Fellow, comments: “ The engineering biology revolution is posed to enrich the way we live and work. We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with Touchlight and tangibly demonstrate our mission to supercharge the competitiveness of UK industry.”

This work will serve to expedite overall understanding of the manufacturing of novel nucleic acid platforms and be pivotal in advancing industry development within NVGT by rapidly making mbDNA widely available to the market. Additionally, advances will play an important role in establishing the UK as a global manufacturing hub for engineering biology, advanced therapies and genetic medicine. 


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.

About NPL
NPL is the UK’s National Metrology Institute, providing the measurement capability that underpins the UK's prosperity and quality of life.
From new antibiotics to tackle resistance and more effective cancer treatments, to secure quantum communications and superfast 5G, technological advances must be built on a foundation of reliable measurement to succeed. Building on over a century’s worth of expertise, our science, engineering and technology provides this foundation. We save lives, protect the environment and enable citizens to feel safe and secure, as well as support international trade and commercial innovation. As a national laboratory, our advice is always impartial and independent, meaning consumers, investors, policymakers and entrepreneurs can always rely on the work we do.
Based in Teddington, south-west London, NPL employs over 600 scientists. NPL also has regional bases across the UK, including at the University of Surrey, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Cambridge and the University of Huddersfield's 3M Buckley Innovation Centre.

For more information visit: www.npl.co.uk
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Karen Fallen, Chief Executive Officer
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+44 20 8481 9200


Keywords: Gene Editing; Nucleic Acids; DNA; Gene Therapy; United Kingdom; Touchlight Genetics; National Physical Laboratory (NPL); Grant; genome editing template; Innovate UK; Nucleic Acid Medicines Manufacture; MegaBulb DNA (mbDNA™); Genome editing technologies; Non-viral nucleic acid templates; Viral vectors; Enzymatic manufacture; GMP production; Non-viral gene therapy (NVGT); Analytical methods; Manufacturing scalability; Karen Fallen; Max Ryadnov; Genetic medicines; DNA services; Doggybone DNA (dbDNA™); National Metrology Institute

Source: Biotech Newswire

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