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Mologic, Sherlock Biosciences to Develop Instrument-Free MDx Tests

NEW YORK – Mologic and Sherlock Biosciences announced on Wednesday a collaboration to develop tests that combine lateral flow and molecular diagnostic technologies for use in low-resource settings and the home.

The firms said that their development work is being supported through an expansion of an existing grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Financial and other terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

The collaboration aims to advance affordable platforms that will detect DNA or RNA targets in virtually any decentralized site, the firms said.

Mologic and Sherlock Biosciences aim to combine "technology platforms for nucleic-acid sensing, super-antibody engineering, ultra-sensitive lateral flow assays, and enzyme activity detection," Mark Davis, Mologic’s CEO and cofounder, said in a statement.

The firms are targeting the development of "extremely sensitive diagnostic tests that produce results with unprecedented speed, without requiring instrumentation, thermal amplification, or electricity," he said.

To develop point-of-need diagnostic tests, the firms anticipate combining Sherlock’s core synthetic biology platform INSPECTR (INternal Splint-Pairing Expression Cassette Translation Reaction) with Mologic’s lateral flow and enzymatic technologies.

Sherlock’s synthetic biology platform uses cell-free systems as programmable, instrument-free molecular diagnostic devices that may be applied across multiple diseases.

Mologic’s core immunoassay platforms are ELTABA (Enzymatic Ligand Transformation Affinity Binding Assay) and CARD, a lateral flow technology developed at the firm's Centre for Advanced Rapid Diagnostics in Bedford, UK.

Bedford-based Mologic said that it expects to expand its presence in Cambridge, Massachusetts through a joint development center within Sherlock’s lab space.