GangaGen, University of Nottingham sign research agreement

Project to develop phage treatment for campylobacter in poultry



May 22, 2007, 01:00 ET from GangaGen

    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.
 
 

SOURCE GangaGen