Sherlock Bio is making its proprietary AI platform freely available to anyone interested in developing diagnostics assays. The goal: faster assay development and better patient access.

By Chris Wolski 

It’s not every day that a company gives away proprietary technology—but that’s what Sherlock Biosciences is doing. The company is giving any lab or company that wants it access to Sherlock Bio’s proprietary AI platform, including its genomic databases in excess of 400 million records, for free.

There’s a practical reason for this corporate altruism, according to Bryan Dechairo, PhD, CEO and president of Sherlock Bio. 

“DNA and RNA is everywhere and there is no way that Sherlock Bio can commercialize all of it,” he says, adding that this sharing was inspired by a similar program he witnessed during his time at Roche.

The end result of the Roche program was that its technology became the gold standard everyone used to develop PCR tests. Dechairo expects the same with Sherlock Bio as more tests become commercialized and rely on the company’s chemistry products to produce the tests.

However, the benefits go both ways. There are significant advantages for the labs and others using the Sherlock platform to develop tests, Dechairo says. First, and perhaps most importantly, the R&D timeline will be significantly compressed—potentially to days and weeks and not months—allowing more money for clinical trials and the regulatory process. 

“By cutting time for R&D, you’ll have a bigger pipeline to develop more tests,” Dechairo predicts.

Dechairo adds that by cutting the R&D costs down, there will be other benefits to patients and society as a whole. For example, there may be more motivation to develop tests for so-called orphan diseases. And, at the public health level, will aid in planning for the next pandemic, with tools and capabilities already in place to respond to and develop a test quickly.

Sherlock Bio and Speed

Speed is certainly one of the biggest benefits of using Sherlock Bio’s proprietary platform. But could speed also lead to less-than-efficacious tests or public perception that these are “rushed” or somehow incomplete?

Dechairo says “no.” He adds that with the FDA regulatory process back to normal, the tests developed as a result of using the Sherlock Bio platform will be safe and effective because they will have undergone the regulatory process.

Counting the Advantages

Dechairo says that Sherlock Bio is delivering three key advantages to labs and companies that want to develop tests with the AI platform:

  1. Speed: R&D and thus commercialization timelines are significantly reduced.
  2. How and where the money is spent: Instead of R&D, money can be spent on clinical validation—potentially expanding the pipeline of products.
  3. Expertise: The AI platform makes lay users experts, again simplifying the idea to iteration process.

And all this dovetails into Sherlock Bio’s mission of providing accuracy, affordability, and access, says Dechairo.

Chris Wolski is the chief editor of CLP.