Gates Foundation funds biotech company cataloging the viruses that infect bacteria

Phase Genomics, a Seattle-based DNA analysis startup, has received $5.5 million in funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Using samples from the human gut and wastewater, CEO Ivan Liachko and team will build a global database to catalog the diversity of viruses that infect bacteria in order to address “one of the largest blind spots in biology.”

The research from the database will be used to develop new therapeutics and aims to provide the foundation for a surveillance system that could identify and respond to emerging microbial threats worldwide.