UConn-Developed Diagnostic Test for Infectious Diseases Reaches Licensing Deal

The method enables simple, rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 and other diseases.

An illustration depicting the coronavirus microbe.

(Getty Images)

A simple, low-cost method of detecting infectious diseases developed by researchers at UConn has reached a licensing deal with Vault Medical Services.

In March 2020, researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering— a shared department in the schools of Dental Medicine, Medicine, and Engineering—began to develop a new, low-cost, CRISPR-based diagnostic platform to detect infectious diseases, including HIV and the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

Led by associate professor Changchun Liu, the “All-In-One-Dual CRISPR-Cas12a” (AIOD-CRISPR) method enables simple, rapid, ultrasensitive, visual detection of SARS-CoV-2, intended for use at home or in small clinics.

“I am excited that our AIOD-CRISPR technology gets started on a licensing deal with Vault Medical Services,” Liu says. “I hope that it can provide a new way to fight infectious diseases worldwide and help people stay healthy.”

In a paper published in Nature Communications in September 2020, Liu and his research team validated the clinical feasibility of the platform using COVID-19 clinical swab samples.

Liu worked directly with UConn Technology Commercialization Services (TCS) to help finalize a licensing deal with Vault Medical Services—a healthcare platform which supports the provision of care management, telemedicine, e-prescribing, and in-home diagnostics based in New York.

“UConn Technology Commercialization Services (TCS) is very excited to partner with Vault Health to bring this platform technology to market. We look forward to supporting them to successfully commercialize this technology,” says Amit Kumar, Ph.D., TCS Licensing Director.

TCS works with innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and industry partners to transform UConn discoveries into products, companies, and jobs that benefit society and fuel economic development. Through a coordinated approach between tech transfer, licensing, and startup teams, TCS provides services that enable success for faculty, business, Connecticut, and beyond.

Vault will have the license to use Liu’s CRISPR-based technology to detect the novel coronavirus, influenza A, and influenza B.

“Vault is pleased to work with UConn and Dr. Liu to commercialize this technology,” says Vault’s Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Alex Pastuszak. “We see great promise in this device opening the door to rapid, highly accurate testing at home and at the point of care, and to shaping the future of how we diagnose and treat disease.”

Vault Medical Services will work on maturing the technology before it goes to market.

To learn more about Dr. Liu’s technology and other technologies available for licensing visit UConn Research Technology Commercialization Services.