New joint venture to produce DNA vaccines for aquaculture

Touchlight Genetics and Stonehaven Incubate formed Touchlight Aquaculture, which will allow accelerated commercial scalability of DNA vaccines in the aquaculture industry.

New joint venture to produce DNA vaccines for aquaculture
September 29, 2020

Touchlight Genetics LLC and Stonehaven Incubate AG formed a new joint venture company, Touchlight Aquaculture LLC, to combine expertise, intellectual property and platform technology. The new company will utilize Touchlight Genetics’ innovative DNA-based DoggyboneTM platform to develop new vaccine solutions, focused on providing solutions exclusively in the field of aquaculture. Touchlight’s technology provides a unique, synthetic DNA vector system in combination with an enzymatic process, allowing for larger-scale commercial production at a significantly lower cost.

DNA vaccines have the potential to enable cost-efficient, safe and more effective immunization with shorter production timelines, improving availability. DNA vaccines have already been shown to be safe and effective with approvals already granted for veterinary use. However, these have shown some limitations in terms of commercial scalability, which resulted in limited widespread adoption.

Stonehaven Incubate is the only global business incubator focused on identifying cutting edge technologies developed to improve human health and creating stand-alone companies to apply those for animal health. Touchlight is a biotechnology company that concentrates on the discovery and development of human DNA-based genetic medicines. The company’s technology has the potential to revolutionize the production and utilization of DNA-based assets across multiple therapeutic areas, and this is their first application in the veterinary field.

“We are delighted to be working with an established and proven leader in DNA vaccine technologies, and now applying this in a field seeking innovation and advancement. Aquaculture has a critical role in addressing the protein gap created by the rapidly expanding global population, which is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. With a large percentage of global fish stock lost to infectious diseases annually, there is a growing awareness of the need for more cost-effective vaccine options,” said Mark Heffernan, CEO of Stonehaven Incubate. “Touchlight Aquaculture will be at the forefront of disease prevention in this high growth industry that is strategically very important to us at Stonehaven Incubate.”

Jonny Ohlson, CEO of Touchlight, said that “there has never been a greater need to deploy effective vaccines at a global scale, whether in humans or animals. DNA vaccines are the future thanks to their potential to enable efficient and safe immunization on a large scale. We are excited to use our technology to support the aquaculture sector, and with Stonehaven Incubate we have a partner with proven expertise in animal health.”