DuPont Animal Nutrition teams up with Proteon on phage development for poultry sector

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/iLexx
© GettyImages/iLexx

Related tags: DuPont, phage, Poultry, Antibiotics

The partnership will bring the emerging bacteriophage technology to poultry producers in selected countries, helping to mitigate antimicrobial resistance, said the two companies.

The identification of those ‘selected countries’ and feeding trial data will be announced at a later date, they said.

Poland headquartered, Proteon Pharmaceuticals, was chosen as a partner, said DuPont, due to work culture, solid scientific approach and leading position in bringing phage technology to market.

Moreover, the technology fits well with DuPont’s nutribiotic approach, it added. The phages are said to work as alternatives to antibiotics.

In terms of the role of each company, Aart Mateboer business leader, DuPont Animal Nutrition and Dr Jaroslaw Dastych, CEO, Proteon said the phage developer will be looking after the research, production and bacteriophage side, while DuPont is charged with all the regulatory, sales and marketing aspects of the alliance.

Looking at market authorization, Proteon’s poultry phage product is registered in India and Asia Pacific but is awaiting approval in other regions, they said.

And poultry farmers in India and Asia Pacific are already using Proteon technology to improve production efficiency.

Proteon has a manufacturing facility in Lodz, Poland. “It is well positioned to adapt its capacity according to market needs."

When asked whether this poultry phage product development work is exclusive to DuPont, they told us: “This partnership is exclusively for the poultry industry in selected countries. Proteon will continue to sell its products independently where applicable and also in the aquaculture and dairy industries.”

Phages are said to be the most numerous and oldest organisms on the planet. They are organic, natural and omnipresent in the environment. A critical part of the global microbiome, phages naturally protect animals and humans from bacteria.

Fish focus

In late 2017, we reported on how the Dutch fund backing sustainable aquaculture projects, Aqua-Spark, had invested in Proteon​.

Mike Velings, co-founder of that Dutch investment fund, told FeedNavigator back then [October 2017].  

“There are that not many companies active in this space. We only identified a handful globally - spanning Korea, China, Western Europe and the US. There are not than many, frankly, and even fewer with actual products in the market.

“We started looking at different companies and really liked the team that Proteon has. If you examine the actual challenges around phages - how to produce them at scale and prepare them for use in one million chickens or in one million fish, and then find a way to administer them – we believe that Proteon can [get around such challenges].

“Now, after 10 years of development, they are finally at a moment where they are commercializing all of their work. This is a great time for us to get in and help them change from a purely science-based research company into a commercial operation.”

Velings said he hoped more companies would move into the phage space: “There are a lot of predictions that, by 2050, if we don’t come up with good alternatives to current antibiotic strategies, millions of people will die from common diseases that we won’t have any weapons against any more.”

Feed is a good platform to administer phages prophylactically for certain diseases and, in doing so, increases the value of the feed, he said. Integration of phages into feed would provide added value for feed mills, he added. "Phages survive processes such as pelleting and drying to still be effective,”​ said Velings. 

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