Mark Offerhaus is fighting an unforgiving war against a tiny but deadly foe that is responsible for killing thousands of Americans every year. But he holds in his arsenal an equally powerful weapon.
Offerhaus, CEO of the Dutch bio-tech firm Micreos, is waging his war against bacterial infections using his company’s unique phage technology.
“We focus on real solutions for human and animal health, in food safety, and other areas where bacteria cause serious problems,” Offerhaus said. “Thanks to Micreos’ technology, phages and phage particles can be used for targeted control of bacteria. Our products kill only the unwanted bacteria, leave the good bacteria in place, and have no side effects. We are viewed as product leader in our field.”
Phages, short for bacteriophages, are microorganisms found in nature that fight bacterial infections. Micreos has found a way to produce phages and phage enzymes on an industrial scale. It’s an important advancement in the fight against food-borne illnesses and infectious diseases given the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA.
“We are bringing new technology to market from which hundreds of millions of people stand to benefit, as we are dealing with matters of life and death,” Offerhaus said. “Our technology offers the best and most elegant way of dealing with unwanted bacteria.”
Offerhaus said Micreos chose America as a target market because it is developed and has high safety standards. For example, the US has a zero-tolerance policy for the deadly pathogen Listeria in food.
One of the company’s products, LISTEX®, which the US Food and Drug Administration approved for use in 2006, eliminates Listeria, keeping the country’s food supply safer and helping millions of people avoid food-borne illnesses. The company also produces Gladskin, a skin-care product that kills unwanted bacteria while leaving good bacteria alone.
Micreos has many American partners throughout the US. In fact, Offerhaus said that about half of his company’s annual sales volume comes from the US. “In many ways, we feel like an American company,” Offerhaus said. “This relationship is invaluable to us.”