BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 a license to ALBOT USA and ALBOT Technologies Private Limited India to develop, manufacture and distribute COVID-19 diagnostic tests using Sherlock’s CRISPR technology. ALBOT has current capacity to manufacture up to 30,000 units per day, increasing access in a region combating high numbers of infections and emerging variants.
On the heels of license agreements in the U.S., Middle East and Asia, this latest partnership enables CRISPR’s rapid, accurate and automatable solution to directly benefit India’s fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic, where accurate detection of highly transmittable variants like B.1.617 and B.1.618 present a growing global concern.
“As India confronts the challenges posed by highly transmissible new COVID-19 variants, the ability of Sherlock’s assay to detect 100 percent of double and triple mutation strains makes it a powerful tool to contain the pandemic,” said Akash Singh, Ph.D., CEO, ALBOT Technologies. “We look forward to ramping Sherlock Biosciences’ CRISPR technology in India at a scale of one million tests per month to contain the crisis created by this pandemic.”
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.
“The continued spread of COVID-19 in India is a public health crisis that requires global support. We are pleased that through The 221b Foundation, our unique CRISPR solution is being implemented as part of a strategy to contain all the variants of SARS-CoV-2,” said Rahul Dhanda, co-founder, president and CEO of Sherlock Biosciences. “ALBOT has worked with CRISPR for years, and we are very excited to see them apply that expertise to bring our platform forward to meet the critical need for increased testing capacity in India.”
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