New investors increase total committed capital to $49 million while providing additional expertise in diagnostics and Artificial Intelligence
Funding will further support efforts to disrupt diagnostics using CRISPR and Synthetic Biology platforms, SHERLOCKTM and INSPECTRTM
Cambridge, Mass., April 23, 2019—Sherlock Biosciences, an Engineering Biology company dedicated to making diagnostic testing better, faster, and more affordable, today announced the close of its Series A round, with a total investment of over $31 million from Northpond Ventures, Baidu Ventures, the Open Philanthropy Project, and other investors. The additional funds bring Sherlock’s total committed capital to $49 million, which includes a $17.5 million non-dilutive grant from the Open Philanthropy Project.
Sherlock launched in March to leverage the power of Engineering Biology tools, including CRISPR and Synthetic Biology, to create a new generation of molecular diagnostics that can rapidly deliver accurate and inexpensive results for a vast range of needs in virtually any setting. Potential applications include oncology, infectious disease, low-resource settings, agriculture, and at-home testing. The additional investors bring significant strategic value, as well as relevant experience in Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence that will enhance Sherlock’s products and their impact on molecular diagnostics.
“We are delighted to have the backing of Northpond Ventures, Baidu Ventures, and our additional investors as we advance our core technologies to develop better, faster, more accurate diagnostic tests,” said Rahul K. Dhanda, Sherlock’s co-founder, president and CEO. “Their support will be vital as we work to harness and direct the power of our SHERLOCK and INSPECTR platforms to develop rapid and more effective diagnostic tests through Engineering Biology and Deep Learning tools that can be performed anywhere, such as testing in the field or home.”
The funds will be used to advance development programs for Sherlock’s core platform technologies. These include SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing), a method for identifying specific sequences of genetic material in a sample using CRISPR; and INSPECTR (INternal Splint-Pairing Expression Cassette Translation Reaction), which can be programmed to distinguish targets based on a single nucleotide at room temperature, without laboratory equipment. Both platform technologies are simple and easy to use without complex instruments, in virtually any setting, and can be used separately or together to provide accurate, rapid, and affordable results.
“Sherlock’s vision is to transform diagnostics worldwide, from helping to control disease in low resource settings, to speeding up and making testing more affordable in the U.S., to providing the agricultural industry with new ways to manage their products and improve food safety,” said Michael P. Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of Northpond Ventures. “We are extremely excited by the breadth of potential applications that Sherlock’s platforms will unlock and look forward to working together to accelerate the development of better tests.”
Baidu Ventures will provide expertise in Deep Learning as Sherlock refines and expands the capabilities of its two core technology platforms.
“With SHERLOCK and INSPECTR, Sherlock is poised to make a significant impact on the diagnostic testing industry,” said Saman Farid, partner and head of the U.S. team at Baidu Ventures. “We are excited to work with the Sherlock team, which includes world-leading experts in CRISPR and Synthetic Biology, experienced scientists, and industry veterans, to incorporate Artificial Intelligence into the design of its diagnostic tests and fulfill the promise of these exciting technologies.”
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 INSPECTRTM, 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.