Background: Bacteriophages are viruses that target and eliminate specific bacteria. They are potential alternatives to chemical antibiotics and are under development as therapeutics for various infectious diseases, including respiratory tract infections. University of Alberta researchers recently demonstrated the therapeutic effectiveness of a nebulized phage therapy in a study of mice with respiratory infections caused by B. cenocepacia (Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2014, 58, 4005 – 4014).

The Challenge:  Experimental bacteriophage anti-infectives developed to date have been generally aqueous suspensions which require cold storage.  If intended for administration to the respiratory tract they can be delivered solely via a nebulizer.  While the use of nebulizers is established in clinical practice and home care, their size, weight and need for a power source preclude them from being used “on the go”.  These inconveniences are likely to be detrimental to the creation of a viable bacteriophage therapy.

The Solution:  To overcome the deficiencies of nebulized phage preparations, our researchers have developed a method to process therapeutically active bacteriophage as a dry powder for inhalation with minimal loss of bacteriophage viability.  The bacteriophages used in work to date target Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, two bacteria causing lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients; other bacteriophages may be amenable to dry powder formulation.  In-vitro studies by our researchers showed that a full therapeutic dose of bacteriophage can be delivered through standard pocket-size dry powder inhalers.  Furthermore, the bacteriophage formulation is stable at room temperature and does not require a cold chain during transport and storage.  This platform technology may facilitate the development of therapeutics.


  • Dried bacteriophage composition features extended storage times at room temperature
  • No cold chain required for transport
  • Rapid and simple delivery through standard powdered dose inhalers within seconds
  • Targeted delivery to respiratory tract

Protection Status

US Patent US8,889,105

Product Number


Contact Information

Rebecka Carroll
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-6235