Sherlock Biosciences, launched March of 2019, is an early-stage venture whose focus is to “develop affordable, instrument-free diagnostic tests for use in oncology and infectious diseases, as well as in industrial and agricultural applications.
SHERLOCK is an evolution of CRISPR technology, which others use to make precise edits in genetic code. SHERLOCK can detect the unique genetic fingerprints of virtually any DNA or RNA sequence in any organism or pathogen. Developed by our founders and licensed exclusively from the Broad Institute, SHERLOCK is a method for single molecule detection of nucleic acid targets and stands for Specific High Sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing. It works by amplifying genetic sequences and programming a CRISPR molecule to detect the presence of a specific genetic signature in a sample, which can also be quantified. 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..
The Sherlock™ CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit is the first FDA-authorized CRISPR-based EUA diagnostic test. The kit is intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2 in upper respiratory tract and bronchoalveolar lavage samples from individuals suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider. Time from extraction to result is 3 hours.
Sherlock Biosciences was founded by well-known scientists at MIT and Harvard as a result of their work in CRISPR-Cas systems for gene editing and molecular diagnostics. A sizable portion of their funding came from a grant in in 2019 from Open Philanthropy, which “awarded Sherlock a $17.5 million non-dilutive grant to develop its SHERLOCK™ platform for use at home, hospitals and in the field." Their last round of funding was $7.5 million from Open Philanthropy Project on 5/21/2020.