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As researchers pursue links between bacteria and human health, startups stand to benefit

Jonathan Shieber
As researchers pursue links between bacteria and human health, startups stand to benefit

In 2009, the National Institutes of Health launched a five-year, $150 million project to stimulate research into a new field of medicine examining the connections between the millions of bacteria living in the human gut and overall human health. Spurred by the advancements in genetics from a decade earlier, this new field of research would map not just the human genome, but the genetic sequences of the microbes living in the body to ascertain their function and the role they played in ensuring the health of the humans they inhabited. A decade later, investors are encouraging the commercialization of these tools with hundreds of millions in financing for startup companies with names like uBiome, Viome, Finch Therapeutics, Kallyope, Second Genome, Human Longevity, Maat Pharma, Seed and many, many more.