Lonza gains access to Touchlight’s enzymatic DNA technology

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Martin Barraud
© GettyImages/Martin Barraud

Related tags Dna Vaccines mRNA Pfizer Lonza

A collaboration between Touchlight and Lonza expands the Swiss CDMO’s end-to-end offering for mRNA manufacturing with an additional, differentiated source of DNA raw material, the UK biotech’s doggybone DNA (dbDNA).

Under the terms of the agreement, Lonza can now provide its customers with seamless access to Touchlight’s enzymatic DNA technology. The Hampton, UK headquartered company said the synthetic DNA source enables GMP production at unprecedented speed, scale, and purity.  

Both parties have agreed not to disclose financial or contractual terms of the collaboration.

A spokesperson for Lonza told us the deal will further enhance its position as a global leader in mRNA manufacturing. “We are constantly reviewing opportunities to optimize our offering and to bring the best innovative solutions to our customers. In this case, a collaboration with Touchlight was agreed to integrate their novel doggybone DNA (dbDNA) as an additional option into our end-to-end offering for customers developing mRNA therapeutics and vaccines.”

Such an integrated solution can prove beneficial in speeding up time to market, which is critical in the fast-paced industry of mRNA manufacturing, according to the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).


Karen Fallen, CEO, Touchlight DNA Services, commented: “Lonza is the leading CDMO in mRNA manufacturing and has an established, global mRNA manufacturing network. The alliance allows both companies to innovate and to extend their offering on a global level.”

Touchlight claims to be disrupting the decades-old technology of DNA production, moving away from “restrictive biological approaches​” to instead use a synthetic DNA vector.  It says its patented dbDNA technology produces a minimal, linear, double stranded, covalently closed DNA vector through an enzymatic manufacturing process.

“Doggybone DNA is uniquely positioned for the rapid, synthetic, and scalable manufacture of GMP DNA using a small, simple footprint. It can accommodate genes of interest of more than 20kb and accommodate sequences typically unstable as plasmid DNA in E. coli, such as those found in viral vector and mRNA production.”

Pfizer deal

In July, Touchlight agreed to a non-exclusive patent license for Pfizer to utilize its dbDNA. Under the license agreement, the pharma giant gains rights to Touchlight’s dbDNA patent portfolio for worldwide use in the manufacture and commercialization of its messenger RNA-based vaccines, therapeutics, and gene therapies. 

The deal includes upfront payment, potential development, and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties upon commercialization.

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