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Investors have been snubbing the microbiome. That may be changing

The field needed to find some basic tools before it had a chance of developing a drug successfully, she said, like better biomarkers to determine how and where a drug was working. For example, in one paper, Synlogic scientists showed that their drug was working by tracking an isotope markers through the bacteria’s metabolic pathway and by measuring levels of a chemical produced by their bacterial “drug,” SYNB1618. “One of the challenges that microbiome companies face is that you can tell what goes in the top end, you can tell what comes out the bottom end, but you can’t tell what happens in the middle,” Brennan said during a presentation earlier this month. “There’s a lot of groundwork that’s required. Papers don’t make good drugs,” she said in an interview afterward.

Munger: pick your fights

If you want to be the best tennis player in the world, you may start out trying and soon find out that it's hopeless—that other people blow right by you. However, if you want to become the best plumbing contractor in Bemidji, that is probably doable by two-thirds of you. It takes a will. It takes the intelligence. But after a while, you'd gradually know all about the plumbing business in Bemidji and master the art. That is an attainable objective, given enough discipline. And people who could never win a chess tournament or stand in center court in a respectable tennis tournament can rise quite high in life by slowly developing a circle of competence—which results partly from what they were born with and partly from what they slowly develop through work.
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Like their brick-and-mortar brethren that have long dealt with stiff competition, startup subscription sites are homing in on consumers' ever narrowing interests and the seemingly universal love of all things homemade.