The 221b Foundation, a nonprofit organization established by Sherlock Biosciences, said on Wednesday that it has granted Cooper International and United PPE licenses to develop and manufacture COVID-19 diagnostic tests using Sherlock Bio’s CRISPR technology.
The agreements will increase access to testing in Asia through United PPE and in the Middle East through Cooper International, 221b said.
Sherlock Bio established the foundation to assist in the eradication of COVID-19 and to support racial and gender diversity in STEM, in part by licensing intellectual property that enables both nonprofit and for-profit entities to develop CRISPR-based diagnostic testing. The foundation provides licenses to Sherlock’s foundational SHERLOCK, or Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing technology, which can achieve single-molecule detection of nucleic acid targets. The platform uses CRISPR for amplicon detection and can be adapted for use with existing diagnostic instruments, the company said.
“We are deeply committed to increasing access to diagnostics globally,” Rahul Dhanda, cofounder, president, and CEO of Sherlock Bio, said in a statement. “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.”
Cooper CEO Ayman Cheikh Lahlou also noted that Sherlock Bio’s technology and assay design “is uniquely suited to covering new and emerging variants and can be easily automated for high throughput.”
In May 2020, Sherlock received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for its own Sherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit. The following month, the company entered into a collaboration with Integrated DNA Technologies for the large-scale manufacturing of Sherlock’s CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 testing kits and partnered with Binx Health to develop a CRISPR-based rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test for COVID-19 in July.