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Engineering biology firm Sherlock Biosciences and China-based Tolo Biotech have signed exclusive license agreements for their diagnostic technologies.

Under the deal, Sherlock gained exclusive rights in the US to Tolo’s CRISPR-Cas12 diagnostic technology, which includes Cas12a and Cas12b.

The company granted Tolo the exclusive rights to the CRISPR-Cas13 SHERLOCK diagnostic platform in Greater China.

Sherlock Biosciences co-founder, president and CEO Rahul Dhanda said: “We are very pleased to enter this agreement with Tolo, which complements Sherlock’s diagnostic rights to the Cas12 and Cas13 proteins licensed from the Broad Institute.

“With the addition of these exclusive Cas12 rights to Sherlock’s IP portfolio, as well as partnering with Tolo as our exclusive partner in China, we have secured our position as the global leader in CRISPR diagnostics.”

The Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing (SHERLOCK) diagnostic platform can perform single-molecule detection of nucleic acid targets.

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By GlobalData

It puts into use clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) activity for smart amplicon detection and can be customised with present diagnostic instruments to enhance time to result owing to its significant multiplexing capacity.

It works by activating a CRISPR enzyme when a specific sequence of DNA/RNA is present and slices nearby genetic material, releasing a fluorescent signal that denotes a positive result.

Tolo Biotech co-founder and chief science officer Jin Wang said: “The advent of CRISPR technology is ushering in the next generation of molecular diagnostics.

“This agreement with Sherlock will enable both companies to develop diagnostic tools that can detect multiple pathogens or targets, improving disease screening, precision medicine and beyond.”

The companies have not divulged the financial details of the deal.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Sherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit.