Westway Health Secures €2.5m EU Funding

10 Aug 2017 | 08.15 am

Westway Health Secures €2.5m EU Funding

Research into bovine mastitis

10 Aug 2017 | 08.15 am

An NUI Galway spin-out which is taking on the global challenge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has secured funding of €2.5 million from the European Union to develop its lead product.

The funding will be used to advance the development of the Westway Health’s lead product in development for the treatment of bovine mastitis

Westway Health was set up in 2012 to commercialise a breakthrough antimicrobial technology developed in NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences.

Its antimicrobial technologies have a range of applications beyond animal health, including human health and environmental sterilisation.

The company has specifically focused on the treatment and prevention of bovine mastitis (infection of the udder) which is a major health and economic issue, costing the dairy industry in the EU and US over €3 billion a year.

Since its inception, the company has won multiple awards and is bringing to market a product for use in the dairy sector, based on its patented technology.

The World Health Organisation has said that organ transplantations, chemotherapy and surgeries such as caesarean sections become much more dangerous without effective antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections.

CEO Dr Ruairi Friel (pictured) described the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a ‘ticking time bomb’. “This could return healthcare to a pre-antibiotic era, where common infections can become fatal. Our solutions are proving effective against all microorganisms we have tested, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA,” he said.

“The genesis of the idea was knowing that there are other ways to kill bacteria like MRSA,” Dr Friel continued. “This is done every day around the world using disinfectants for example, or through steam cleaning. What we have been able to develop is a new method of killing bacteria which does not harm living tissue.”

Based in NUI Galway’s Business Innovation Centre, Westway Health’s lead product in development is PanaMast LC, a new product for the treatment of mastitis in lactating cows.

Conventional antibiotics are currently used to treat mastitis. However, this solution has poor treatment outcomes, leading to the culling of cows and lost milk revenues, as milk from cows treated with antibiotics must be withdrawn from sale for a period of time during and after treatment.

Westway Health’s product, PanaMast, is the first non-antibiotic solution meaning farmers can continue to sell milk during and following treatment.

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