Last week saw the birth of a new company in the UK - Fixed Phage Limited - established to develop products for the treatment and prevention of infection and bacterial contamination in medicine and other areas.

A spin-out of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, the new firm will utilise its award-winning patented technology developed by scientists at the University to harnesses the powerful antibacterial properties of bacteriophages, which occur naturally and are not dangerous to humans, in both new and existing products.

Fixed Phage's first focus will be on wound care applications and the prevention of infections such as the notorious superbug MRSA, which is still a big problem for the National Health Service, and working alongside industry the group is hoping to create, test and produce a wide range of antimicrobial products, it said.

According to Jim Chadwick, Fixed Phage's chief executive, "the terrific potential of bacteriophage as an agent to combat infection has been known for some years but it has proved difficult to incorporate into products that are easily manufactured and offer patent protection. This superb technology, invented in Scotland, allows both these objectives to be achieved simultaneously and a prototype has been demonstrated in rigorous trial".

The technology can both prevent infection from developing in the first place or deal with established cases, "and unlike antibiotics, has the advantage that bacteriophage constantly overcome bacterial resistance and once established, the bacterial destruction process becomes self-amplifying,” Chadwick explained, and said the firm is expecting "significant commercial interest, particularly from the pharmaceutical industry”.

Scottish venture capital company Barwell PLC is providing capital to support the new venture, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise’s Scottish Co-Investment Fund, and the new company will initially be based at the University.