US-based biotechnology company Sherlock Biosciences has acquired Sense Biodetection, a UK-based developer of rapid molecular diagnostics, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is said to advance Sherlock’s go-to-marketing strategy and add Sense’s Veros instrument-free rapid molecular test platform and manufacturing capabilities.

It will combine Sense’s Veros test platform with Sherlock’s engineering biology tools, including the FDA-authorised CRISPR technology.

In March last year, Sense secured the CE mark for its Veros Covid-19 rapid, instrument-free molecular test based on its high sensitivity and specificity.

Sense Biosciences CEO Timothy Still said: “This is a powerful combination of proprietary and leading technologies and will allow Sense to realise our vision of delivering the future of diagnostic testing to transform healthcare.

“Joining Sherlock with their novel CRISPR technology was an excellent opportunity and we look forward to advancing our platform to meet the need for testing wherever and whenever it is needed.”

Through the transaction, Sherlock Biosciences is enabled to bring accurate, advanced, handheld tests for a wide range of diseases from respiratory and sexual health to global outbreak response.

The company will integrate Sense’s chemistry, manufacturing, and technology into its molecular technology platform.

It will leverage the company’s experience in development and regulatory submissions to expand the capabilities of the Sherlock platform.

The acquisition will advance its capability to provide the most advanced CRISPR-based diagnostics to global consumers, said the US-based company.

Sherlock Biosciences president and CEO Bryan Dechairo said: “The Sense team has done a great job developing and validating their instrument-free diagnostic technology.

Sherlock investor Novalis LifeSciences partner Paul Meister said: “The potential for this acquisition to impact global health is significant.

“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 last year, Sherlock raised $80m in a Series B financing round, led by Novalis LifeSciences, to develop CRISPR-based diagnostics.