Complement Therapeutics are based at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Touchlight, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Complement Therapeutics to develop innovative manufacturing process for gene therapies

Munich, Germany – 9th May 2024

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), an independent innovation and technology organisation specialising in the advancement of the cell and gene therapy industry; Touchlight, a company pioneering enzymatic DNA production; and Complement Therapeutics, a preclinical stage biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics for complement-mediated diseases, today announce that they have been awarded over £1 million in a grant from Innovate UK, as part of the ‘Innovative Technologies: Nucleic Acid Medicines Manufacture’ competition.

For potentially life-changing gene therapies to become more widely available to patients, there is a need to improve the manufacturing of these therapies, to increase yield and lower cost without compromising quality.

During this two-year project, Touchlight, the CGT Catapult and Complement Therapeutics will combine their expertise in gene therapy development and manufacturing to develop an innovative recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) production process.

The project will use Touchlight’s enzyme-based DNA manufacturing platform to produce doggybone DNA (dbDNA™). dbDNA can be produced significantly faster than plasmid DNA which is more commonly used to manufacture rAAV gene therapies. The collaborators hope that, during the commercialisation of gene therapies, this approach will ultimately lower the cost of manufacturing AAV as well as have the additional benefit of reducing environmental burden, compared with manufacturing plasmid DNA.

The team will use dbDNA to produce rAAV which, in turn, will be used to manufacture Complement Therapeutics’ gene therapy candidates. CGT Catapult will optimise its rAAV manufacturing and analytical platform to support this manufacturing process.

The project will enable CGT Catapult to support other rAAV manufacturers around the UK to establish their own dbDNA-based manufacturing processes. By helping gene therapy developers improve their manufacturing, this has potential to make these therapies more affordable and accessible.

Karen Fallen, Chief Executive Officer of Touchlight, said:

“We are excited to combine our dbDNA technology with those of Complement Therapeutics and CGT Catapult to develop an innovative solution to AAV production. dbDNA has the potential to improve the productivity and thus, the cost of AAV manufacture, while also eliminating bacterial impurities.”

Rafiq Hasan, Chief Executive Officer of Complement Therapeutics, said:

“We are looking forward to this collaboration with colleagues from Touchlight and the CGT Catapult in exploring the potential of this innovative dbDNA technology in the manufacture of our AAV gene therapy candidates.”

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, said:

“Building on Touchlight’s pioneering dbDNA platform and Complement Therapeutics’ expertise in gene therapies, we hope to develop an innovative process that streamlines viral vector manufacturing and so helps to reduce the cost of advanced therapies. We look forward to working with Touchlight and Complement Therapeutics, both experts in advanced therapies, on this valuable project.”

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About Touchlight

Touchlight is a privately-owned CDMO based in London, U.K., focused on the provision of DNA services and manufacture of enzymatically produced doggybone DNA (dbDNA™) to enable the development of genetic medicines. Touchlight provide rapid, enzymatic DNA development and manufacturing for all advanced therapy production, including mRNA, viral and non-viral gene therapy and DNA API. dbDNA is a minimal, linear, covalently closed structure, which eliminates bacterial sequences. Touchlight’s revolutionary enzymatic production platform is being utilised by multiple clients in clinical studies and enables unprecedented speed, scale, and the ability to target genes with a size and complexity that is impossible with current technologies. Clients can be supported from pre-clinical through development and supply, to licencing and tech transfer for use in-house.

About the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult is an independent innovation and technology organisation committed to the advancement of the cell and gene therapy industry with a vision of a thriving industry delivering life changing advanced therapies to the world. Its aim is to create powerful collaborations which overcome challenges to the advancement of the sector. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK. For more information, please visit or

Contact: Alice Deeley, communications and content manager, / April Six

About Complement Therapeutics

Complement Therapeutics is an early-stage biotechnology company focused on the research and development of novel therapeutics for complement-mediated diseases. The Company is a spinout from the University of Manchester and is based on the pioneering research of its founders into novel targets within the complement cascade.

Our lead investigational product (CTx001) is being evaluated as a potential gene therapy for GA, a leading cause of blindness. Additional programmes will evaluate potential therapeutic opportunities in other complement-mediated conditions.

The Company is also developing a unique quantification methodology, the Complement Precision Medicine (CPM) platform, to enable quantification of over 30 complement cascade proteins enabling more precise diagnosis and monitoring of disease.

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For more information please visit:

Dr Rafiq Hasan, CEO

Complement Therapeutics Ltd