OTTAWA, Canada and NOTTINGHAM, UK, May 22 /PRNewswire/ - GangaGen Life Sciences Inc. and the University of Nottingham today announced they are engaging in a major research project to develop a bacteriophage-based treatment for the control of Campylobacter bacteria in poultry. Along with Salmonella, Campylobacter is the most common form of food-borne illness, infecting millions of people worldwide every year. Both GangaGen and the university are leaders in bacteriophage research and view the technology as a vital breakthrough in the control of bacterial contamination and associated health risks. Phages are naturally occurring agents that target and destroy bacteria with a high degree of efficiency, and do so selectively and specifically, without affecting beneficial bacteria or body cells. The research agreement is focused on building a business relationship to commercialize phage technology developed at the University that complements the existing phage expertise of GangaGen. GangaGen is a developer of therapeutics based on phage technology for the control of disease-causing bacteria. The company is developing a portfolio of products for the effective treatment of infectious disease in human and animal health. Its animal health program includes innovations for the control of food-safety hazards associated with the transfer of pathogenic bacteria from animal production to consumers. The work on a phage product for the control of Campylobacter will complement the GangaGen's food safety product portfolio, which also includes phage products against Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. The technological advances made by the company have already eliminated any potential toxicity and gene-transfer risks. "We are excited to be working with a company like GangaGen that is at the forefront of phage technology development," said Dr. Ian Connerton, Northern Foods Professor of Food Safety, the University's research partner in the agreement. "Our team's research has demonstrated that certain phages specific for Campylobacter can significantly reduce the load of the bacteria carried by poultry. By implication, this should also reduce the risk to consumers by decreasing bacterial contamination of meat that is prevalent in poultry processing and is transferred to chicken meat on grocery shelves." Food-safety authorities in Europe and in North America recently released data showing that the contamination hazard due to Campylobacter remains high, and is of increasing concern because the pathogen has also started to demonstrate resistance to several common antibiotics. The IAFP International Association for Food Protection highlighted this concern at its 2006 annual conference in Calgary. "GangaGen believes that the place to start fighting food safety-related bacteria is at the farm where livestock production takes place, and this research agreement with the University of Nottingham allows us to continue building on that premise," said Dr. Rainer Engelhardt, CEO of GangaGen Life Sciences Inc. "The food industry and its regulators have stated that they believe that timely intervention is needed at the farm level to supplement the extensive, but not fully effective, controls already in place in food processing. GangaGen has demonstrated in production animal trials that we can isolate and use phages efficaciously, with full regard for safety, and that the phages are benign to animals, humans and the environment." "This research agreement is of great importance to the health market in general," continued Engelhardt. "The combination of these two research teams provides strong impetus for creating a safe, effective and low cost solution to this pernicious consumer health risk." About GangaGen GangaGen is a private biotechnology company and a world leader in phage technology and commercialization of phage innovation for control and treatment of infectious bacterial disease. GangaGen Life Sciences Inc. was established in 2002 in Ottawa, Canada, by its U.S. parent, GangaGen Inc., to develop, jointly with its sister company in India, GangaGen Biotechnologies Pvt. Ltd., phage-based anti-infective technologies for applications in human and animal health, including zoonotic disease (that is, pathogens carried by animals and transferable to humans). For more information, visit www.gangagen.ca. About the University of Nottingham The University of Nottingham is Britain's University of the Year (The Times Higher Awards 2006). It undertakes world-changing research, provides innovative teaching and a student experience of the highest quality. Ranked by Newsweek in the world's Top 75 universities, its academics have won two Nobel Prizes since 2003. The University is an international institution with campuses in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and China.