Lonza boosts mRNA services through Touchlight collaboration

The partnership will see CDMO Lonza integrate Touchlight’s doggybone DNA tech into its messenger RNA (mRNA) manufacturing offering.

Swiss contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza has been at the forefront of mRNA production, in part due to major contracts to supply the drug substance for hundreds of millions of doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, Spikevax.

It’s oligonucleotide and RNA production capabilities have also been bolstered through various investments across its global network, including an expansion at its Visp, Switzerland site that came online earlier this year.

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With increasing demand for mRNA-based development projects, the CDMO has teamed with Hampton, UK-based Touchlight DNA Services – headed up by Lonza’s former head of mammalian & microbial development & manufacturing, Karen Fallen – to include its doggybone DNA (dbDNA) technology in its offering.

The synthetic dbDNA platform has been validated as comparable to plasmid DNA across numerous productions systems, with Touchlight claiming it offers certain advantages, including speed of production, a smaller manufacturing footprint in the form of benchtop equipment and disposable contact materials, and improved scalability and superior safety through the elimination of bacterial sequences.

“To further enhance our 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,” a Lonza spokesperson told BioProcess Insider.

“In this case, a collaboration with Touchlight was agreed to integrate their novel doggybone DNA as an additional option into our end-to-end offering for customers developing mRNA therapeutics and vaccines.”

Touchlight’s Fallen added the Lonza collaboration is “significant to the growth and ongoing development of doggybone DNA,” and will provide its own customers the benefits of an end-to-end mRNA offering.

“Lonza is the CDMO leader in mRNA manufacturing and has an established, global mRNA manufacturing network. The alliance will allow both companies to innovate and to extend their offering on a global level.”

Neither party has disclosed any financial or contractual terms of the collaboration.