A stealth biotechnology company that has attracted curiosity and speculation because of its eminent co-founders emerged into the spotlight on Thursday with the announcement of its first scientific discovery — a CRISPR-associated enzyme that promises several advantages over other ones — and an explanation of where it hopes to find scientific riches.

Arbor Biotechnologies, said co-founder David Walt of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard, wants to scour the microbial world — “this uncharted region,” he calls it — in search of molecules “that will benefit humans in health, agriculture, and the environment.” The startup is premised on the idea that “microbes have developed an incredible diversity of chemical and biochemical solutions to the myriad environmental challenges they encounter,” he told STAT.

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