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GangaGen bags 2 US patents for phage knowhow

The Hindu Business Line:  July 07, 2005

Bangalore:Move over, antibiotics. The phages are coming. And in 18 months' time, the Bangalore R&D arm of biotechnology company GangaGen could come out with phage-based remedies for some of the common and deadly bacterial infectionsnagging us.

Phage is a short name for bacteriophage, which is a virus that infects bacteria.

GangaGen recently received two broad US patents for its bacteriophage technologies. This would enable the company to conduct phase 1 and 2 clinical studies during 2007 and 2008, scout for manufacturing partners and launch some of its anti-bacterial products for humans and animals during 2007-08, Dr J. Ramachandran, President & CEO, has announced.

The Bangalore-based subsidiary, GangaGen Biotechnologies Pvt Ltd, will develop remedies for some dreaded hospital infections caused by the staphylococcus bacteria, including nasal, urinary tract, and burns and wound infections. These could be in the form of vaccines, ointments or drops.

Dr Ramachandran said phage therapies would have immense revenue potential. In the next five years, the company pegged its revenue from food safety applications at $50 million and animal therapies at $10 million. GangaGen is scouting for domestic and foreign partners to commercially produce and market its products.

The company's Ottawa arm, GangaGen Life Sciences Inc., would develop products to fight e Coli infection in pre-slaughter cattle (that caused the hamburger disease in humans), dairy cattle and salmonella-prone poultry. These could be in the form of cattle-feed additives. For poultry and swine products, it has tied up with North American distribution major Lallemand.

The research work in India is expected to cut costs by nearly 10-25 per cent.

Started with a $5-million investment, GangaGen is now mobilising another infusion of $5 million. Of this, ICF Ventures (which initially put in $2 million) would contribute $2 million, according to Mr Vijay Angadi, Managing Partner of ICF Ventures.

According to Dr Ramachandran, phages, whose anti-bacterial benefits were known for over 100 years, take us back to the pre-antibiotic era.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.