AskBio and Touchlight restructure JV targeting AAV market

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/BlackJack3D
© GettyImages/BlackJack3D

Related tags: Dna, AAV

AskBio, a gene therapy company owned and operated as a subsidiary of Bayer AG, and Touchlight, a biotech focused on enzymatic DNA production, have announced a revised structure to their former joint venture, Touchlight AAV.

Under the revised arrangement, which was implemented on February 1, both parties have co-exclusive rights to independently supply the Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV) market with doggybone DNA (dbDNA) through their respective independently owned Contract Development and Manufacturing Organizations (CDMO).

Karen Fallen, CEO of Touchlight DNA Services, told BioPharma-Reporter: “Following the re-structure, the two CDMOs offering dbDNA will be Touchlight DNA Services and the newly named TAAV, the successor of Touchlight AAV and now fully owned by AskBio/Bayer."

The restructuring of the joint venture was initiated due to the growth of Touchlight DNA Services, she said. 

That CDMO has been supporting the genetic medicines industry in all other markets, including mRNA, lentivirus, non-viral gene therapy, gene editing, and DNA vaccines, for several years already, added Fallen. "It will now be able to extend its offering to the AAV market directly, thus targeting all areas of advanced therapy."

Greater flexibility 

Bayer and AskBio also saw the benefit in having more vertical integration of the dbDNA technology. “Therefore, the new, mutually beneficial agreement will enable better flexibility for both parties and better access to dbDNA for the market,” ​added the spokesperson.

TAAV will retain its right to manufacture AAV dbDNA both for AskBio’s internal product development pipeline as well as continuing to provide AAV dbDNA to third-party customers from its new, recently completed state-of-the-art facility in San Sebastian, Spain.

Demand for dbDNA, a synthetic bench-top process alternative to plasmid DNA, has grown rapidly in the last year and the technology promises to revolutionize how genetic medicine is developed and manufactured, said the parties.

Both organizations expect continued expansion and significant growth of their provision of dbDNA to the AAV market.

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