The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funds innovative breakthrough and emerging technologies for the Department of Defense (DOD). Developing and implementing cutting edge technology that is high risk and reward requires the most advanced multidisciplinary teams. DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office recently awarded the MRIGlobal Team’s proposal to “Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies” (DIGET).
DIGET aims to provide next-generation detection for the DOD by combining gene-editing technology with fieldable diagnostics and biosurveillance. DIGET will apply CRISPR technologies to develop a disposable point of care device for detection of at least 10 targets and a massively multiplexed device for at least 1,000 targets. MRIGlobal received an initial contract award for $12.7M with a total contract value of up to $36.7M over a four-year period of performance. MRIGlobal will lead a world-class team of partners: Mammoth Biosciences, Draper, IDbyDNA, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Toolbox Medical Innovations to develop chemistry and devices. This program is timely and addresses the COVID-19 pandemic which is an application the program intends to address for emerging and novel biothreats.