EcoPhage is an agribiotechnology company, providing sustainable and effective, phage-based crop protection solutions to manage bacterial plant diseases. Phages are naturally occurring viruses (bacteriophages) that target bacteria and are safe and inert to humans, animals, and plants.
The company’s proprietary technological platform is licensed from the Weizmann Institute of Science, developed by Professor Rotem Sorek, a recognized world leader known for his groundbreaking research on the interactions between bacteria and bacteriophages.
Our platform technology consists of screening and characterization methodology of phage collections, resulting in the selection of the most promising phage candidates (“super phages”). These phages form a basis for highly effective and sustainable phage cocktails that meet multiple agricultural product attributes for antimicrobial crop protection.
The company is backed by The Trendlines Group, the Bayer Trendlines Ag Innovation Fund and the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA).
We select the best phages for our products, and generate the most optimal combinations
to create “super phage cocktails” for superior crop protection
Orly Savion has wide scientific and technological experience in diverse disciplines and holds strong business development capabilities
Full Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, The Weizmann Institute of Science
Dr. Nissan combines a strong R&D background in microbiology together with regulation affairs experience and management skills.
Dr. Frenk is an experienced microbiologist and bioinformatician, working with environmental and clinical samples to interpret genomic data.
Itay holds a BSc in Plant Sciences and an MSc in Agroecology and Plant Health, both from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Gavriel holds BSc and MSc in Agroecology and Plant Health from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Shiri holds an MSc in Agroecology and Plant Health from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is about to complete her Ph.D. in the same department
Board of Directors
CEO, Trendlines Agrifood Fund; Vice Chair, Trendlines Agrifood Innovation Center.
Open Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Bayer Crop Science.
There is a dire and immediate need for crop protection against bacterial diseases.
Farmers are seeking effective and sustainable solutions to combat over 200 bacterial diseases, which cause billions of dollars in annual yield damage to major crops globally. Current synthetic pesticides include a wide use of copper and antibiotics, yet these are insufficient due to poor efficacy and resistance development of the disease-causing bacteria. Since many common synthetic pesticides have environmental repercussions their use is being further limited due to regulation and public pressure. Antibiotics are less accepted publicly, especially due to their antimicrobial resistance, which is one of the biggest health concerns of this decade.
Bacteriophages have been recognized as natural enemies of bacteria for decades. These entities efficiently eradicate only the target bacteria and are inert to humans, animals, and plants, making them promising candidates for targeted biological crop protection. However, because of insufficient efficacy and lack of technologies for pinpointing the “right” phages, this promise has yet to be exploited for achieving highly effective solutions that can withstand bacteria resistance.
The EcoPhage Solution
EcoPhage is at the forefront of crop phage biocontrol. Our solutions rely on rationally-designed bacteriophage cocktails that target and eradicate harmful bacteria on crops. The company’s proprietary technological platform screens its enriched phage collection, characterizes and selects the promising phage candidates to be used as a basis for highly effective and sustainable phage cocktails for antimicrobial crop protection.
The company is currently targeting two indications consisting of key pathogens, which cause significant damage in tomato and pepper plants worldwide. Future product expansion will be based on market needs. EcoPhage only uses non-GMO, naturally occurring phages. These undergo extensive screening, characterization, and selection processes to generate the most efficient “super-phage” cocktails. We are committed to delivering superior products to farmers that can aid in the fight against bacterial plant diseases.
Phages are the most abundant entities in nature, with their number estimated at >1031. However, only a small fraction of phages possess all the attributes required for product development, and of these, only a subset can be used synergistically in a cocktail.
At EcoPhage, we have the technology platforms and know-how to identify and select these “super phages” that are the most suitable for use in crop-phage treatment.
Bacteriophages (aka phages) are natural enemies of bacteria, derived from the Greek word “phago” which means to eat, making them “bacteria eaters”.
Phages are natural entities that exist everywhere in nature. In fact, we encounter millions of phages on any typical day. They effectively kill their target-specific bacteria without affecting anything else in their surroundings and are safe for humans, plants, and the environment.
Two major attributes make phages a lot more desirable for biological control:
1) Specificity: Phages are highly specific and only kill target bacteria, whereas antibiotics may harm many bacteria indiscriminately no matter if they are beneficial or damaging to the ecosystem.
2) Self-amplification: An antibiotic is only as useful as the concentration applied. Therefore large amounts are needed in order to be effective. Phages, however, can self-amplify at the site of infection in a chain reaction, i.e. each phage can multiply and kill thousands of bacteria.
Bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics due to naturally occurring genetic mutations. The bacterial resistance creates an undesirable need to use increased doses of existing antibiotics as well as a demand to find new antibiotics to overcome mutations (very limited possibilities).
Phages are naturally, eco-friendly accruing antibiotics against specific bacteria. In order to overcome a bacteria’s ability to develop resistance to phage-based solutions, EcoPhage rationally designs cocktails of super phages. Phages are selected based on their ability to kill target bacteria through different pathways. So, it is highly unlikely that bacteria will develop resistance against all cocktail phages while still maintaining their ability to cause disease.
Our phages are derived from nature! Phages are found everywhere that bacteria exist. We collect our phages from many diverse sources.
Phages have been used successfully for more than a century to combat bacterial infections. They became less popular when antibiotics were discovered and commonly used, but now, phages are making a massive comeback as more and more antibiotics become useless due to antimicrobial resistance.
No, we only use natural phages. We believe that with such great diversity, this gift from nature is all we need. It is simply a question of finding the best phage combinations for the job.
Phages can only multiply in the presence of their bacterial targets. Once all target bacteria are destroyed the phages become inert and eventually biodegrade back into the environment.
As with any biological product, our phages will undergo specific regulatory pathway testing before being released for commercial use. The process involves presenting product efficiency against target bacteria and safety usage for agricultural applications.
EcoPhage Ltd. 3 Pinhas Sapir Street, Nes-Ziona, Israel
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