Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Sherlock Biosciences has partnered with binx health, based in Boston, to develop a point-of-care test for Covid-19 using CRISPR technology.
Sherlock received an emergency use authorization for its CRISPR-based Covid-19 test kit on May 7, becoming the first company ever to get a regulatory nod for a product using the gene-editing platform.
The organizations will combine the binx io diagnostic platform with SHERLOCKTM CRISPR technology to provide rapid results. Their test is designed to deliver results in a single-patient visit across many CLIA-waived settings such as clinics, doctors’ offices, assisted-living centers, pharmacies, and other accessible venues for consumers.
The binx io is a molecular platform with FDA clearance for chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and a proprietary detection method with the ability to detect infectious disease targets from bodily fluids. The platform consists of a desktop-sized instrument and a single-use cartridge with multiplex capacity up to 24 targets. After a patient’s sample is added to the cartridge and loaded into the instrument, the process is fully automated and will produce a “detected” or “not detected” onscreen result.
“We are pleased to partner with Sherlock Biosciences to help bridge a gap in COVID-19 testing—the need for highly accurate point-of-care diagnostic testing in CLIA-waived and near-patient settings,” said Jeff Luber, CEO of binx health. In April, binx health presented an FDA-cleared molecular diagnostic instrument for chlamydia and gonorrhea in both men and women that for the first time delivers same-visit diagnoses.
“Our proprietary platform will now leverage Sherlock’s CRISPR-based assay combined with binx’s eletrochemical detection for rapid viral detection of SARS-CoV-2 without the need for additional instrumentation. This union of technologies is designed to enable physicians, clinicians, and other healthcare workers on the front lines of the global COVID-19 pandemic to make on-the-spot care decisions and to control and prevent further infections,” noted Luber.
Sherlock’s namesake diagnostics platform (the name stands for “specific high-sensitivity enzymatic reporter unlocking”) is a technique that uses Crispr to identify highly specific genetic sequences. It’s the perfect tool for diagnosing Covid-19 by the presence of the novel coronavirus, which is discernible by its specific RNA sequence. The Crispr system is adapted from the bacterial immune system and is best known for its ability to edit genes. Typically, Crispr uses a piece of guide RNA as a “WANTED” poster to seek out a target gene of interest, which is then snipped by its enzymatic partner, the Cas9 “molecular scissors.”