As a kid, I loved going to my friend’s farm. We’d spend hours playing with the baby goats, feeding the chickens, and collecting eggs. It was an idyllic slice of country life.

That changed one summer when an E. coli outbreak swept through the farm, sickening animals left and right. They pumped the goats full of antibiotics, but the bacteria kept spreading. Dozens of animals suffered miserably. It was heartbreaking to witness.

Situations like that farm play out far too often nowadays. Antimicrobial resistance is spinning out of control - the WHO calls it one of humanity’s top 10 threats. We desperately need alternatives to excessive antibiotic use.

The numbers:

That’s where PhageLab comes in. The Chile-based startup is harnessing the power of bacteriophages - “phages” for short - to combat disease. These naturally occurring viruses can eliminate pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli in livestock.

Initially discovered in the 1920s and commonly used before Penicillin, Phages represent the “greatest source of genetic diversity on the planet” according to Tim Ireland in his book The Good Virus. Phages offer a safer, more targeted solution than antibiotics. And PhageLab has spent the past decade building one of the world’s largest phage databases to develop cutting-edge treatments.

PhageLab has received regulatory approval across South America and has piloting customers seeing great results. In 2024, they plan to expand globally. Their ambitious vision is to eventually apply phage therapy to humans too.

As investors, we are thrilled to support PhageLab’s work revolutionizing how we treat illness and safeguard our food supply. Their technology could help ensure no other farm suffers an outbreak like my friend’s. Phages may be tiny, but they offer enormous hope for the future.

More details on PhageLab’s recent funding announcement here.