The 221b Foundation Grants Licenses to Multiple Organizations to Develop and Distribute CRISPR COVID-19 Diagnostic Kits Globally
Cooper International and United PPE to Produce Kits for Worldwide Distribution of Sherlock’s CRISPR Technology as Part of Ongoing Testing Strategies
BOSTON, April 21, 2021 – The 221b Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Sherlock Biosciences to address the global COVID-19 pandemic while promoting diverse representation in STEM, today announced that it has granted Cooper International and United PPE licenses to develop and manufacture COVID-19 diagnostic tests using Sherlock’s CRISPR technology. The agreements will increase access in Asia and the Middle East.
By providing its CRISPR technology, called SHERLOCK, through The 221b Foundation, Sherlock is facilitating pathways for the development and delivery of rapid, accurate and automatable solutions to directly benefit patients and the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are deeply committed to increasing access to diagnostics globally and are excited that these organizations will translate the promise of our CRISPR platform into COVID-19 diagnostic solutions,” said Rahul Dhanda, co-founder, president and CEO of Sherlock Biosciences and founding board member of The 221b Foundation. “By providing our CRISPR technology to these test developers, the critical need for improved testing during the pandemic will be further satisfied, improving healthcare at a global scale.”
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.
“We see enormous value in Sherlock’s CRISPR-based technology,” said Ayman Cheikh Lahlou, CEO of Cooper Pharma. “The assay design is uniquely suited to covering new and emerging variants and can be easily automated for high throughput, a critical benefit in our efforts to develop a robust diagnostic to help contain the pandemic.”
“We are excited to expand access to COVID-19 diagnostics by bringing Sherlock’s CRISPR platform to the Asian market,” said Peter Hon Chong, CEO of United PPE America. “Our vast production and distribution abilities throughout Asia will ensure that these critical diagnostics can be rapidly deployed to aid in the fight against this global pandemic.”
About The 221b Foundation
The 221b Foundation was founded with the dual mission to assist in the eradication of COVID-19, while supporting racial and gender diversity in STEM. By providing support and intellectual property that enables both non-profit and for-profit entities to develop CRISPR-based diagnostic testing, The 221b Foundation seeks to aid in the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic while furthering access and diversity in STEM industries. Led by industry experts in the fields of diagnostic testing, STEM and diversity, The 221b Foundation envisions a world where advances in CRISPR technology fuel the innovations that will put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, please visit: 221bfoundation.org.
About Sherlock Biosciences
Sherlock Biosciences is dedicated to providing global access to the simplest and most accurate tests that empower individuals to control their own healthcare. Through its Engineering Biology platforms, the company is developing applications of SHERLOCK™, a CRISPR-based method for “smart amplicon detection,” 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. In 2020, the company made history with the first FDA-authorized use of CRISPR technology. For more information visit Sherlock.bio.
Katie Engleman, 1AB