Eligo Bioscience raises $20 million to target the microbiome more precisely

French startup Eligo Bioscience just raised $20 million to develop next-gen biotherapeutics. Khosla Ventures is leading the round. This is also Khosla Ventures’ first investment in a French startup. Existing investor Seventure Partners is also participating, and the startup received a $2 million grant from the Worldwide Innovation Challenge.

Eligo Bioscience has been working on a new way to target bacteria-based diseases since 2014. Many doctors still rely on old-fashioned antibiotics to kill bacteria or prevent further disease development. But most antibiotics are very broad and target all kinds of bacteria.

It means that some antibiotics aren’t necessarily effective when it comes to fighting specific kinds of bacteria. And bacteria also evolve over time, meaning that bacteria become less and less receptive to usual antibiotics. This could be a global health challenge in the coming years.

Eligo Bioscience thinks that there’s a better way to target the microbiome. The company is designing biological nanobots made out of DNA and proteins to identify and infiltrate specific types of bacteria. Those biotherapeutics called eligobiotics can then deliver a payload.

Eligobiotics are a delivery system. There are like trucks looking for specific bacteria in your body. The company says that you can combine eligobiotics with CRISPR-Cas payloads to kill pathogenic bacteria. But there are also more use cases. Eligobiotics could create transient drug production within your body.

Developing and mass-producing something like this is obviously a huge challenge. It’s going to take years before your doctor prescribes you an eligobiotics treatment.

And there are many challenges to overcome. If Eligo Bioscience has enough funding for its biological research, gets FDA approval and mass-produces eligobiotics in house or with a pharmaceutical partner, it could become a massive product. So it’s going to be a wild ride. But there’s one thing for sure. It’s an interesting startup so let’s keep an eye on Eligo Bioscience.