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Just the Harmful Ones

A startup company is exploring using gene-editing tools to more precisely target disease-causing bacteria within the gut, Futurism reports. The hope, it adds, is to combat bacteria that have become antibiotic resistant.

Eligo Bioscience in France recently received some $20 million in funding to develop drugs that target specific aspects of the microbiome, it adds. Rather than developing broadly acting antibiotics or probiotics, Eligo tells Business Insider that it aims to make 'eligobiotics' that target harmful microbes within the gut microbiome and leave helpful ones alone.

As Business Insider notes, the company's approach is to use CRISPR to make cuts in the genetic material of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It adds that the approach has been tested in mice and that the company hopes to start clinical trials in 2020. Eventually, Eligo wants to offer it as a pill, Business Insider says.

"Antibiotics are weapons of mass destruction: extremely powerful but imprecise. With eligobiotics, we can precisely intervene on the microbiome — targeting specific bacteria for interventions of our choice," Eligo CEO Xavier Duportet says in a statement.