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Aquaculture vaccine venture launched

A new aquaculture vaccine development company has been launched by Touchlight Genetics and Stonehaven Incubate.

29 September 2020, at 9:18am

A new aquaculture vaccine development company has been launched by Touchlight Genetics and Stonehaven Incubate.

The new joint venture aims to develop DNA vaccines for the aquaculture sector
The new joint venture aims to develop DNA vaccines for the aquaculture sector

The joint venture company, called Touchlight Aquaculture, will - according to a press release issued today - "utilise Touchlight Genetics’ innovative DNA-based Doggybone platform to develop new vaccines".

The 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 immunisation 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 which concentrates on the discovery and development of human DNA-based genetic medicines. The company’s technology has the potential to revolutionise the production and utilisation of DNA-based assets across multiple therapeutic areas, and this is their first application in the veterinary field.

Dr Mark Heffernan, CEO of Stonehaven Incubate, said: “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 9 billion by 2050. With a large percentage of global fish stock lost to infectious disease annually, there is growing awareness of the need for more cost-effective vaccine options.”

“Touchlight Aquaculture will be at the forefront in disease prevention in this high growth industry that is strategically very important to us at Stonehaven Incubate,” he added.

Jonny Ohlson, CEO of Touchlight, said: “There has never been greater need to deploy effective vaccines at global scale, whether in humans or in animals. DNA vaccines are the future thanks to their potential to enable efficient and safe immunisation 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.”