After Touchlight's Pfizer pact, CDMO Curia gets its hands on firm's 'doggybone' DNA platform

Every dog has its day, and Monday was Curia’s as the CDMO got its paws on a new drug manufacturing platform.

Curia has enlisted enzymatic DNA production outfit Touchlight to furnish its clients with access to Touchlight’s doggybone DNA (dbDNA)—a unique DNA vector that can serve as the template for mRNA therapies.

The pact expands Curia’s existing mRNA production offerings with another differentiated source of DNA raw material that's “immediately” available to all the contract manufacturer’s customers, Curia said in a release Monday. Under the deal, Touchlight will directly manufacture dbDNA for Curia’s clients.

With Touchlight’s “doggybone” DNA vector, an enzymatic process called in vitro transcription is used to copy genetic information from DNA to mRNA. The mRNA is then able to teach cells to make precise proteins that are used to prevent or treat diseases, Touchlight and Curia explained in a release.

A little over a year ago, pandemic juggernaut Pfizer also tapped Touchlight in a bid to overhaul the production process for mRNA vaccines, therapeutics and gene therapies.

Under the deal, Touchlight was set to receive an upfront payment, plus clinical and commercial milestone payments and royalties upon potential commercialization. The companies didn't disclose the financial specifics of the deal.

In September 2021, meanwhile, Touchlight scored $125 million in venture funding to boost manufacturing as it saw a demand spike for its dbDNA. The funding was used to expand the scale of its Hampton, U.K,  facility, allowing it to produce up to 1 kilogram of DNA per month.