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Chr. Hansen Acquires Technology to Fight Viruses

by 5m Editor
26 February 2009, at 6:31am

GLOBAL - Chr. Hansen acquired the technology from the Indian/Canadian company GangaGen and the acquisition is a strategic fit to the Animal Health & Nutrition business.

"It is in everyone’s interest to avoid food borne diseases and it is a huge challenge. In North America alone there were more than 60.000 cases of E. coli infections in 2007 (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The bacteriophage technology we acquired aims at reducing the presence of E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter contamination by 85 -95 per cent. We see this as a gigantic step towards major improvements of the global food safety," says Jan Kuhlmann, VP Animal Health & Nutrition, Chr. Hansen.

Bacterial contamination of foodstuffs is a multi-billion dollar problem affecting an estimated 76 million people annually in the US alone (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Eaters of bacteria

The technology builds on bacteriophages. Bacteriophages are nature’s way to fight bacteria. They are choosy and ideal for eliminating unwanted bacteria more efficiently than antibiotics and without unwanted side effects. Bacteriophage literally means ‘eaters of bacteria’.

"Contamination of beef with E. coli strain O157 creates public health risks and is of concern to the meat packing and processing industry. "Our bacteriophage technology is uniquely suited to address this problem because it can be used to treat animals just before slaughter and greatly reduce the risk of contamination of meat products. The treatment is short and simple and with no risks to humans," Jan Kuhlmann explains.

North America first

Chr. Hansen plans initially to launch a product against E. Coli after regulatory approval in North America. Next in line are Australia, China and Europe.

Products treating salmonella and campylobacter are in the development stage and will upon development and approval be launched globally.

"We see great potential in this and expect to reach a double-digit million revenue in Euro in five years from product launch," concludes Jan Kuhlmann.

In 2007/08 the Animal Health & Nutrition business area experienced organic growth of 20%. Growth through strategic acquisitions is an important part of the overall Chr. Hansen strategy.

The acquisition price is not disclosed.