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14th October 2019  Product update: Paul Carton

DoD Counter Biothreats with SHERLOCK Technology

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted the SynBio start-up company Sherlock Biosciences to develop its ultra-fast, ultra-sensitive and field-deployable diagnostics platform to counter the threat of biowarfare.

The two-year contract is worth $2 million to Sherlock Biosciences and was secured by the DoD Defense Innovation Unit. This unit is responsible for identifying commercial industry solutions to support the US military and works on behalf of the U.S Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

Sherlock Biosciences, is a spin-out, start-up company with links to Harvard and Broad; institutes of excellence in Massachusetts, US. Since launching in March of this year, they have secured approximately $50 million from a variety of sources who have invested in their platform SHERLOCK™ (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing). 

Along with the advancement of the SHERLOCK project, this SynBio start-up is also working on an “instrument free” molecular diagnostics platform. In what must be an attractive technology from a military standpoint and one that is predicted to have DoD backing anytime soon. Not short on biology terms as they are with tools, they’ve titled this platform as INSPCTR (internal split-pairing expression cassette translation reaction), in keeping with their investigatory themed company. 

In nearby MIT, the DTRA has funded research into the concept of engineering phages as an alternative to antibiotics and last year they funded research into engineering antimicrobial peptides as another alternative. 


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Date Published: 14th October 2019

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Note: This content has been edited by a rapidmicrobiology staff writer for style and content.

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