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March 22, 2019

Sherlock Biosciences to develop CRISPR-based diagnostics

Sherlock Biosciences is developing rapid and cost-effective diagnostics using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and synthetic biology.

Sherlock Biosciences is developing rapid and cost-effective diagnostics using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and synthetic biology.

Sherlock Biosciences was co-founded with an initial investment of $35m. This funding includes a $17.5m non-dilutive grant and contributions from the Open Philanthropy Project and other undisclosed investors.

The company plans to use engineering biology tools to develop next-generation molecular diagnostics and deliver accurate results for a wide range of applications.

Sherlock Biosciences co-founder, president and CEO Rahul Dhanda said: “Our founders have created some of the most important breakthroughs in modern science through advances in the field of engineering biology, the practice of designing and building biological systems into tools that can enhance human health.

“Our founders have created some of the most important breakthroughs in modern science through advances in the field of engineering biology.”

“We are building Sherlock to transform these breakthroughs into a new and powerful generation of molecular diagnostics that will enable users to make more effective decisions in both clinical and non-clinical settings worldwide, including hospitals, industrial settings, low-resource settings and at home.”

The new company licensed the SHERLOCK platform from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The platform is designed to leverage CRISPR to identify specific targets and detect genetic fingerprints across a variety of sample types.

Sherlock Biosciences also licensed the synthetic biology-based INSPECTR molecular diagnostics platform developed by the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

This platform facilitates differentiation of targets depending on a single nucleotide. The company noted that alone or in combination, these platforms could enable the detection and quantification of targets without the need for complex instruments and in different potential settings.

The SHERLOCK and INSPECTR platforms are expected to be useful in precision oncology, infection identification, at-home testing and in-field disease detection.

In addition, the new company plans to use its financing to advance development programmes and design new assays.

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