Cepheid and Sherlock Biosciences Establish Collaboration on New GeneXpert Tests for Infectious Diseases and Oncology Leveraging CRISPR Technology

February 28, 2020

SUNNYVALE, CALIF., and CAMBRIDGE, MASS., February 28, 2020

Cepheid and Sherlock Biosciences today announced a research collaboration between the two companies to explore the development of new cutting-edge molecular diagnostic tests. Leveraging Sherlock Biosciences’ engineering biology platform, SHERLOCK, a CRISPR-based technology that can identify virtually any genetic target, new tests could be designed to run on Cepheid’s GeneXpert® Systems. The collaboration will focus on molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases and oncology, beginning with a proof-of-concept project focused on detection of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

“This partnership will allow us to explore utilizing Cepheid’s easy-to use-cartridge to further develop targeted molecular tests that better address outbreak scenarios,” said David H. Persing, M.D., Ph.D., Cepheid’s Chief Medical and Technology Officer. “With a global installed base of over 23,000 GeneXpert Systems, this technology could potentially be applied in multiple settings where actionable treatment information is needed quickly.”

The companies plan to jointly pursue grant opportunities to further push development of newer molecular diagnostic tests to allow future GeneXpert users access to expanded test menu and capabilities. The companies may pursue opportunities in infectious diseases and oncology, including exploring how better to address outbreak scenarios.

“SHERLOCK is an ideal platform for rapid response and development for any global outbreak, while also a powerful tool for affordable and rapid molecular diagnostic testing for routine assays,” said Rahul Dhanda, Sherlock’s Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to work on bringing our breakthrough CRISPR technology to Cepheid’s revolutionary GeneXpert platform, which should enable our companies to provide potential diagnostic solutions for a range of applications including infectious diseases and oncology. Initially, we will explore the compatibility of our technologies for coronavirus detection, while pursuing a broad set of solutions that enable users to make more effective decisions in both clinical and non-clinical settings worldwide.” 

About GeneXpert Systems and Xpert Tests

The GeneXpert System’s modular configuration makes it the most scalable molecular diagnostic system available, offering the ability to perform from one to eighty Xpert® tests at the same time. The Xpert test menu spans healthcare-associated infections, sexual health, critical infectious disease, and oncology — offering 28 tests outside the United States, and 20 tests in the United States.

About Cepheid

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Cepheid a leading molecular diagnostics company that is dedicated to improving healthcare by developing, manufacturing, and marketing accurate yet easy-to-use molecular systems and tests. By automating highly complex and time-consuming manual procedures, the company’s solutions deliver a better way for institutions of any size to perform sophisticated genetic testing for organisms and genetic-based diseases. Through its strong molecular biology capabilities, the company is focusing on those applications where accurate, rapid, and actionable test results can impact patients most, such as managing infectious diseases and cancer. For more information, visit http://www.cepheid.com.

About the SHERLOCK™ Platform

The SHERLOCK platform enables the development of diagnostics that are better, faster and more affordable, which could diagnose virtually any disease rapidly, accurately, inexpensively and without the need of complex lab instruments, allowing for actionable results in virtually any setting.

SHERLOCK (Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unlocking) platform is an evolution of CRISPR, a powerful technology used to make precise edits in genetic code. SHERLOCK leverages CRISPR-Cas12 and Cas13 to detect the unique genetic fingerprints of virtually any DNA or RNA sequence in any organism or pathogen.

Developed by company co-founders and licensed exclusively from the Broad Institute, SHERLOCK is a method for single molecule detection of nucleic acid targetsBy programming a CRISPR molecule to detect the presence of a specific genetic signature in a sample or amplified target, SHERLOCK enables single molecule detection with high accuracy. When it finds those signatures, the CRISPR enzyme is activated and releases a robust signal. This signal can be adapted to work on a simple paper strip test, in laboratory equipment, or to provide an electrochemical readout that can be read with a mobile phone. 

About Sherlock Biosciences

Sherlock Biosciences is dedicated to making molecular diagnostics better, faster and more affordable through Engineering Biology platforms. The company is developing applications of SHERLOCK, a CRISPR-based method to detect and quantify specific genetic sequences, and INSPECTR, a Synthetic Biology-based molecular diagnostics platform that is instrument-free. SHERLOCK and INSPECTR can be used in virtually any setting without complex instrumentation, opening up a wide range of potential applications in areas including precision oncology, infection identification, food safety, at-home tests and disease detection in the field. For more information visit Sherlock.bio.

For Cepheid Media Inquiries:
Darwa Peterson

For Sherlock Biosciences Media Inquiries: