Innovate UK KTN, a UK-based organization focused on driving innovation and growth, has launched the Phage Innovation Network, a platform aimed at improving the development and regulation of phage-based technologies (PBTs). The network will enable the UK to maintain its position as a world leader in phage research and development and will help address the challenges that have limited the adoption of PBTs in the UK.
Phage-based technologies have been recognized globally as viable aids to controlling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and ensuring the longevity of antibiotics. The UK has a significant knowledge base for phage research and development, but the positive outputs from UK-based researchers and companies have been seldom translated into the application of PBTs due to challenges such as limited regulatory frameworks and lack of manufacturing capacity.
The Phage Innovation Network will provide a forum for the UK’s community of phage researchers, innovative companies, end-user industries, funders, regulators, and other key stakeholders to establish state-of-the-art of phage research, network, and develop new project ideas. The initiative will also showcase PBTs to increase the engagement of key stakeholders on this topic across sectors and improve industry engagement in the development and production of PBTs.
The network will create a business community around innovations in phage research for sector growth and economic benefit in the UK, building a platform from which the UK knowledge base for phage research can be expanded. The initiative will also contribute to redefining antimicrobials as the infrastructure necessary for global health and economic security.
The launch event of the Phage Innovation Network included speakers from the Centre for Phage Research at the University of Leicester, NHS Tayside, and Fixed Phage, who presented on topics such as bacteriophage therapy to reduce Salmonella colonization in chickens and the commercial development of phage therapeutics.
Dr. Fran Hodges, KTM Emerging Technologies and Industries, leads the initiative, using her expertise as a phage microbiologist and experience working with industrial partners on the development of phage products.
The Phage Innovation Network is expected to have direct impacts on improving cross-sector access to PBTs, leading to a multi-sector reduction in antibiotic use. It will also change perceptions of anti-infectives and their role in society, expanding reach and engagement, and network activities.
The launch of the Phage Innovation Network marks a significant step forward in the development and regulation of phage-based technologies in the UK. The initiative is set to drive innovation and growth in the sector, and help tackle the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.
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