Curia expands biologics capabilities with access to Touchlight’s doggybone DNA

Curia collaborates with Touchlight to expand its mRNA manufacturing offering to enable access to enzymatic doggybone DNA (dbDNA™)

ALBANY, N.Y. and HAMPTON, United Kingdom, July 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Curia, a leading contract research, development and manufacturing organization, and Touchlight, a company pioneering enzymatic DNA production, today announced an agreement which will provide Curia and its clients a streamlined means of access to Touchlight’s doggybone DNA (dbDNA). The arrangement expands Curia’s mRNA manufacturing offerings with an additional differentiated source of DNA raw material that is immediately available to be accessed by Curia customers. Under the arrangement, Touchlight will directly manufacture dbDNA on behalf of Curia’s customers.

“Curia remains committed to strengthening our biologics offerings and end-to-end mRNA manufacturing capabilities,” said Christopher Conway, President of R&D, Curia. “With the addition of enzymatic DNA through our partnership with Touchlight, our customers will have a critical advantage in terms of scalability and speed to market.”

Touchlight’s dbDNA is a linear, double-stranded, covalently-closed DNA vector. DNA serves as the template for making mRNA therapies. Through a simple enzymatic process called in vitro transcription, genetic information is copied from DNA to mRNA. This mRNA is then able to teach the cells to make precise proteins that are used to treat or prevent diseases. Touchlight’s enzymatic DNA is produced with a cell-free enzymatic process that offers unmatched benefits in speed, quality and capacity when compared to traditional plasmid DNA production.

Karen Fallen, CEO, Touchlight commented: “We are delighted to work with Curia in order to further expand access to dbDNA as a critical starting material. Working in parallel with fellow CDMOs is a key component of our focus upon enabling broad market access to dbDNA. Curia is building a comprehensive mRNA solution, and this arrangement enables both companies to extend their offering to a wider audience.”

Touchlight’s dbDNA is a novel solution that is widely applicable and versatile, advancing Curia’s mRNA manufacturing capabilities as a complement to its bioprocessing-grade plasmid offering.

About Curia

Curia is a leading contract research, development, and manufacturing organization providing products and services from R&D through commercial manufacturing to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers. Curia’s nearly 4,000 employees at 29 locations across the U.S., Europe, and Asia help its customers advance from curiosity to cure. Learn more at

About Touchlight

Touchlight is a privately-owned CDMO based in London, U.K., focused on providing DNA services and manufacturing enzymatically produced doggybone DNA (dbDNA™) to enable the development of genetic medicines. Touchlight provides 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 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 licensing and tech transfer for use in-house.

Curia Contact Information:
Viana Bhagan
+1 518 512 2111

Touchlight contact information:

Karen Fallen, Chief Executive Officer
Robin Bodicoat, Head of Marketing
T: +44 20 8481 9200

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8879177

OPEN Health announces a new team of experts will lead its HEOR & Market Access Scientific Office

London, UK, July 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OPEN Health, a global provider of consultancyHEOR and market access, and scientific communications services, today announced a new team of experts will lead its HEOR & Market Access Scientific Office. This expert team will be led by Dr. Elisabeth Fenwick as Chief Scientific Officer with support from Professor Ben van Hout as Scientific Founder.

Both Elisabeth and Ben joined OPEN Health through its acquisition of Pharmerit International. Elisabeth Fenwick is most widely known for working on the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC), creating the cost-effectiveness acceptability frontier, and for her work in value of information analyses for research decisions. She has over 20 years of experience in the industry and has published more than 50 publications globally. Ben van Hout is most commonly known for being one of the co-founders of the EQ-5D (a standardized measure of health-related quality of life) and as the developer of the CEAC. He was also one of the first researchers to perform a discrete event simulation and is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He has over 35 years of experience in the industry and was honored with the ISPOR Avedis Donabedian Outcomes Research Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.

“The purpose of the Scientific Office is to ensure that science is at the center of everything we do. Our scientific experts are here to support the HEOR and market access team with their amazing research developing innovative solutions.” Elisabeth commented.

The Scientific Office is made up of experts who bring unique skillsets from across OPEN Health’s HEOR & market access service areas. The appointed team consists of Maarten Treur, MSc, Vice President and Global Head of Modeling & Meta-Analysis; Dr. Viktor Chirikov, Director of Real‑World Evidence & Data Analytics; Dr. Marco Boeri, Director of Preference Research in Patient-Centered Outcomes; and Emanuele Arcà, MSc, Senior Research Consultant in Strategic Market Access. Craig Bennison, MSc, Executive Director and Global Innovation Lead for OPEN Health HEOR & Market Access, will also join the team and will focus specifically on innovation.

“Over the last few years, the scientific contributions and leadership of these experts have played instrumental roles in shaping our reputation and research efforts, working in partnership with our clients to improve health outcomes and patient wellbeing,” said Richard Jones, President of OPEN Health Evidence & Access. “This team will ensure our scientific expertise, thought leadership, and innovation stay front and center of our HEOR and market access offering.”

To learn more about the team of experts in the Scientific Office, please explore this interactive publication.

About OPEN Health

OPEN Health unites deep scientific knowledge with wide-ranging specialist expertise to unlock possibilities that improve health outcomes and patient wellbeing. Working in partnership with our clients, we embrace our different perspectives and strengths to deliver fresh thinking and solutions that make a difference. OPEN Health is a flexible global organization that solves complex healthcare challenges across HEOR and market access, medical communications and creative omnichannel campaigns. For more information on OPEN Health, visit

Candice Subero
OPEN Health

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8878752

Youth in Sissala West District vulnerable to radicalization – NCCE

Gwollu, (U/W), Proximity to neighbouring Burkina-Faso, high youth unemployment, general economic hardships, with emergence of inter-party and intra-party misunderstandings in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region, puts the youth at risk of vulnerable to radicalization.

Mr Mustapha Iddrisu, the Sissala West District Director of the National Commission for Civic Education who observed this, therefore, proposed periodical engagements with the youth and political parties to keep them informed on the negative consequences of activities of extremist groups to the lives and wellbeing of Ghanaians.

He said this during a day’s engagement with youth groups in the district at Gwollu as part of the implementation of the European Union (EU) sponsored Preventing and Containing Violent Extremism (PVCE) project.

He said the engagement was aimed at sensitizing the youth to the negative consequences of joining violent extremists’ groups and the legal framework that prohibited violent extremist activities and terrorism in the country.

Mr Iddrisu explained that the PCVE programme was also focused on building on the gains made through the implementation of previous EU sponsored programmes such as NORPREVSEC that was implemented by the Commission in 2021, to prevent violent extremism in the country.

According to him, the Commission recently carried out sensitization of identifiable groups and communities across the district under the PCVE programme, to promote social cohesion, peaceful coexistence and public participation in the fight against violent extremism.

Mr Iddrisu noted that as people living in border communities, much was expected of them as far as the fight against violent extremism was concerned and entreated them to channel their energies towards contributing to the fight against the menace.

He also reminded participants that the forefathers of the district did their best during the slave trade, to prevent slave raiders from entering the land by building the Gwollu Salve Defense Wall.

He said it was time for the current generation to emulate their grandfathers by building another wall to prevent extremist groups and their activities in the country.

He, however, noted that the kind of wall the current youth needed to build was not the physical wall, but rather a wall of ideas, unity, patriotism, nationalism and strategies to prevent extremist groups from extending their activities into the country.

In all, 61 people comprising 34 males and 27 females participated in the sensitization programme.

Source: Ghana News Agency

New training facilities for Ghana Immigration Service in the offing – Veep

Accra, The Government has established three new training facilities for the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) to enhance their training of officers.

The facilities include a Mid-Country School at Tepa in the Ashanti Region, a Tactical Training School at Kyebi in the Eastern Region and a Centre of Excellence at Odorkor in the Greater Accra Region.

Vice President Bawumia made the disclosure when he reviewed the parade of Cadet Intake 17 of the Immigration Service Academy and Training School at Assin Fosu in the Central Region.

There is also ongoing procurement of specialised vehicles, equipment and arms for the Service as part of the government’s intervention to train and equip the first line of the country’s border defence to safeguard Ghanaians.

It formed part of the government’s comprehensive retooling and enhancement of the Service to discharge its mandate in the face of the changing dynamics in global security.

The passing-out ceremony of the GIS was the first since the lifting of the Covid-19 restrictions.

In all, 357 Cadets received the President’s assent to become Officers of the Ghana Immigration Service after seven-months rigorous training.

They received training in Immigration Law, Practices and Procedures; Migration Management; Operational Planning; Criminal Procedures; Intelligence gathering and Investigations; Travel Document Management, Map Reading and Navigation; French language.

The Ghana Immigration Service is mandated to manage the country’s borders and thus serves as the first line of defense, ensuring that whatever comes in and goes out of the country is monitored, as well as ensuring the issuance of visas to non-Ghanaians.

The Service also plays a crucial role in national security, trade and investment facilitation.

‘You will agree with me that the Service occupies a strategic position toward achieving peace and security as well as economic prosperity,’ Vice President Bawumia stated.

Vice President Bawumia gave the assurance that the Government would not renege on its mandate of providing the logistical needs for the GIS to deliver on its mandate.

‘I’m pleased to announce that the Government has delivered its promise of procuring arms and ammunition for the Service to boost its operations and enhance security at the borders,’ he said.

‘The GIS would be equipped with specialized surveillance equipment, regional offices, residential accommodation, and other critical operational logistics,’ he added.

Vice President Bawumia noted that the changing dynamics required the GIS to continually live up to the confidence reposed in them by Ghanaians.

‘The management of migration and its implications on security across the world keeps assuming intricate dimensions with each passing day. That notwithstanding, the benefits that accrue to the effective management of migration cannot be underestimated.

‘This is why the Government of President Akufo-Addo believes that the GIS has to adopt a more innovative and robust approach to managing migration in the collective interest of the State. I know you have embraced modern technology as the most reliable tool for reaching this goal. Evidence of this is the implementation of technology put in place for the paperless input of traveler’s data at the Kotoka international airport in March 2023.

‘We have also seen some level of implementation of the Ghana card as an e-passport (with the Ghana card the identity of people can be established using their fingerprints). Ghana Missions and other Embassies abroad will be able to establish the identity of Ghanaians using their fingerprints. Identity can even be established without the Ghana card if you have been enrolled on the database. The Ghana card is also being linked with existing passports so that travel history will be preserved.’

Dr Bawumia applauded the good relationship and cooperation that has existed and evolved over the years with between the Ghana Immigration Service and sister security agencies, which has seen some of these agencies train their personnel at the Service’s training facility.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Establish safe homes for displaced children in Upper East – Child Protection Officers

Bolgatanga, Social and Child Protection Officers in the Upper East Region have appealed to the government to establish safe homes for children in the region to help provide decent places for them during emergencies.

They made the call on the sidelines of a three-day capacity building workshop on the basics of Child Protection in Emergency (CPiE), organised by the Department of Children, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), with funding support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and held in Bolgatanga.

It brought together regional and district officers of the Departments of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare and Community Development, Development Planning Officers from 10 Municipal and Districts in the region including Kassena-Nankana and Bawku Municipals, Kassena-Nankana West, Bongo, Nabdam, Bawku West, Garu, Tempane, Pusiga and Binduri Districts.

Some security agencies such as the Ghana Immigration Service, the Ghana Police Service, Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) were also present.

Ms Rosemary Awiah, a Social Development Officer with the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, Kassena-Nankana Municipal, explained that lack of safe homes for children in the region was affecting the service provided to children during emergencies.

She said apart from the private children’s homes, there was no single children’s home owned and managed by the state in the region, and monitoring of the children in the private Homes was difficult and had numerous challenges.

She noted that it was against professional and ethical practice for officers who rescued children from humanitarian crisis and other challenges to keep the children in their personal residence.

‘Sometimes, when you rescue the child during an emergency, getting a place to keep the child to enable you do proper assessment and investigation becomes a challenge, so we would have been very grateful if we could have one in the region,’ she said.

Ms Theresa Akugri, the Bawku Municipal Director of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, said during emergencies, children who were separated from their families were expected to be housed in special homes to receive the needed care but that was not the situation in the region.

She said, ‘whenever I get a child like that, I have to always travel to Bolgatanga for them to identify a private children’s home to take the child there but some of them are already choked and sometimes the monitoring is also difficult.’

Mr John Azaam, the Social Welfare Officer for the Bongo District explained that if a decent designated place were created within the districts or in the region for children in emergency, it would enable the social welfare officers to interact and provide the needed services to children rescued from emergencies.

Mrs Abena Aprekua Badu-Aboagye, the Principal Programme Officer, Department of Children at MoGCSP, explained that the training was to equip the participants with the necessary knowledge, experiences, and strategies to respond effectively, efficiently, and appropriately to humanitarian crisis and provide adequate protection for children in emergencies.

It was also part of efforts to position existing systems and structures to provide minimum standards of child protection for displaced children during emergencies especially with the influx of the migrants from Burkina Faso, she added.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Central Region GPRTU ready for delegates’ conference and election

Winneba (C/R), The Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) in the Central Region is set to hold its delegates’ conference and executive elections in Winneba after successfully resolving the disputes that hindered the process.

Nana Nimako Bresiama, National Chairman of GPRTU, assured that all necessary arrangements were in place for a peaceful and successful conference, urging all delegates to adhere to established protocols.

Nana Bresiama was addressing an emergency council meeting organised by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Central Regional Directorate of the Union in Winneba.

The meeting was held to inform the council members of the preparedness made towards the conference and to make them aware of the rules and regulations.

He announced that two members each from the 113 branches in Central Region totalling 226 were expected to attend the conference to elect the new executives and emphasised the need for branch chairmen to adhere to the directives to avoid problems.

‘There is nothing to fear; you must be bold to vote for persons who can and will work with fidelity and avoid conflict of interest in the union.

‘Also, consider people who will seek your welfare and effectively manage the affairs of your beloved Union for the next four years,’ he urged.

He applauded the members of the regional branch for burying their differences in the interest of the union’s progress.

He intimated that peace and cohesion were essential in the development of every organisation and thus, implored them to continue working together with one purpose.

Nana Bresiama thanked the members of the IMC for working to pave the way for the much-anticipated conference and election.

‘We all know the challenges we have gone through all this while, especially the struggle for power that hindered the smooth administration of the Central Regional Branch Union but by God’s grace, calm has prevailed,’ he stated.

He said it behooved on them to work towards the sustainability of the unity they had embraced to enable them to operate effectively and efficiently.

Some of the aspirants in the upcoming executive elections include Mr. Kwame Kuma and Mr. John Coffie, both branch Chairmen, who are vying for the Regional Chairman position.

Others are Mr. Omar Dam and Mr Abdulaziz Sowah for Vice Regional Chairman; Nana Danso Babio and Augustine Mensah for Trustee; and Mr Salifu Seidu and George Lapson Nasro for Second Trustee.

Source: Ghana News Agency