DNA is a critical starting material for genetic medicines such as Covid-19 vaccines and gene therapies. London-based Touchlight has developed a novel method of synthesising DNA that is fast, scalable and eliminates antibiotic resistance genes. Its contract manufacturing business supplies DNA to the genetic medicine industry, while its genetics division develops DNA-based therapeutics. It also has a joint venture with biotech firm AskBio, producing DNA for adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapies. Profits hit £7.2m in 2019, under founder and executive chairman Jonny Ohlson, 58. In March 2021, it raised £42m in a funding round led by private equity firm Bridford Investments, enabling it to more than triple its manufacturing footprint and create up to 60 jobs. The facility will have the capacity to produce 1kg of DNA a month, enough for more than a billion Covid-19 vaccine doses.
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