2023-02-02| M&A

Sherlock Biosciences Buys Sense Biodetection to Accelerate CRISPR-Based Handheld Diagnostic Tests

by Joy Lin
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Sherlock Biosciences, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based private engineering biology company, has acquired Oxford, UK-based Sense Biodetection to add their handheld diagnostic tests that use CRISPR gene editing technology. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. 

“This acquisition accelerates Sherlock’s ability to put the most advanced CRISPR-based diagnostics conveniently in the hands of global consumers,” said Bryan Dechairo, President and CEO of Sherlock Biosciences in a press release.

 “The Sense team has done a great job developing and validating their instrument-free diagnostic technology. Together, we can significantly push forward our go-to-market strategy by leveraging Sense’s innovative chemistry and device engineering, combined with our industry-leading molecular technologies to realize our collective vision of democratizing and decentralizing diagnostics.”

Related Article: JPM23: Acquisition Announcements From JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2023 Day One

Accessing Sense’s Genetic Testing Platform

Sense received its CE Mark (which allows products to be sold in the EU) in March 2022 for its Veros COVID-19 rapid, instrument-free molecular test. The Veros genetic testing platform will enable Sherlock to bring handheld tests to global consumers for a range of diseases related to respiratory and sexual health, the American company said. Sense’s chemistry, manufacturing, and technology will also be integrated into Sherlock’s platform to expand its capabilities. 

It will complement Sherlock’s own portfolio, which includes the first FDA-approved CRISPR-based COVID-19 test. Sherlock has also developed at-home devices for infectious disease, early detection of cancer, treatment monitoring, and precision medicine.

“The potential for this acquisition to impact global health is significant,”added Paul Meister, Partner at Sherlock investor Novalis LifeSciences, and previously Chairman of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “There’s been a lot of speculation that 2023 will see increased M&A activity in the life sciences industry; it’s impressive that Sherlock is leading this trend in the private market.”

In March 2022, Sherlock raised $80 million in a Series B financing round led by Novalis LifeSciences. The round saw participation from a number of new investors including Illumina Ventures, Albany Capital, and Catalio Capital Management. 

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