Sherlock Biosciences Strengthens Intellectual Property Portfolio in CRISPR-based Diagnostics Through Exclusive License Agreement with Tolo Biotech

December 04, 2020

Exclusive Rights to Cas12 and Cas13 Maintains Sherlock Biosciences as Leading CRISPR Diagnostic Manufacturer, While Providing Partners with the Most Comprehensive Portfolio of Diagnostic CRISPR Enzymes

Cambridge, Mass., December 4, 2020 —Sherlock Biosciences, an Engineering Biology company dedicated to making diagnostic testing better, faster and more affordable, today announced exclusive license agreements with Shanghai-based Tolo Biotech. Tolo has granted Sherlock exclusive rights in the United States to its CRISPR-Cas12 (including Cas12a and Cas12b) diagnostic technology, and Sherlock has granted Tolo exclusive rights to the CRISPR-Cas13 SHERLOCK™ diagnostic platform in Greater China. Financial details have not been disclosed.

“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,” said Rahul Dhanda, co-founder, president and CEO of Sherlock Biosciences. “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 advent of CRISPR technology is ushering in the next generation of molecular diagnostics,” said Jin Wang, co-founder and chief science officer of Tolo Biotech. “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. Tolo highly values this opportunity for close collaboration with Sherlock to promote the development of CRISPR diagnostics.”

The SHERLOCK diagnostic platform can achieve  single molecule detection of nucleic acid targets; its name stands for Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing. SHERLOCK utilizes CRISPR activity for “smart amplicon detection” and can be adapted for use with existing diagnostic instruments, improving time to result due to its significant multiplexing capacity. When a specific sequence of DNA or RNA is present, a CRISPR enzyme is activated and, much like a pair of scissors, starts cutting nearby genetic material, releasing a fluorescent signal that indicates a positive result. In May 2020, Sherlock received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Sherlock™ CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit, the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology.

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 and food safety. At-home and other on-site field test formats are a particular focus of Sherlock’s work. For more information visit


About Tolo Biotech

Tolo Biotech (based in Shanghai, China) aims to provide cutting-edge solutions for molecular diagnostics. The company recently developed the CRISPR-Cas12-based HOLMES platform, and is now promoting its application in areas such as POCT, food safety and home use testing. For more information visit

Media Contact:
Katie Engleman