15 August, 2022

Phage’s homeland – Georgia

History of phage therapy

The history of phage therapy began about 100 years ago. In 1917, Felix Derell, a Canadian scientist of French descent, began to observe and analyze the origin of pure white cirles in the river Ganges in India. At that time, the Ganges was also known as a “magic” river. After months of investigation, he came to the conclusion that certain clean areas developed invisible germs which were destroying bacteria; he named these organisms bacteriophages (“bacteria eaters” from the ancient Greek).

After Derell returned to France, he tried to convince the sientific community in the Pasteur Institute of the existence of these invisible micro-organisms and the need to begin researching them, but the Institute was sceptical.

At the same time, Georgian scientist Giorgi Eliava was traveling in France to study vaccination technology. He was sent in France with governmental support, where he crossed paths with Derell. Eliava became a student of the French scientist, later becoming good friends.

Eliava convinced Derell to travel to Tbilisi, Georgia and establish the first bacteriophage-focused research institute with support from the Soviet government. According to urban legend, Stalin himself allocated them over 300 million rubles for this purpose, with the world’s first phage reserach institute built in 1934.


BioChimPharm (Phage Factory) began in the early 90s, when, despite the country’s difficult situation following the fall of the Soviet Union, Alexander Gholijashvili, a Georgian biotechnologist with 15 years of experience, and his colleagues founded the world’s first commercial pharmaceutical company specialised in bacteriophages.

Despite the difficult circumstances and limited resources, the company developed the phage technology even further. Currently, BioChimPharm is one of the key players in phage therapy production worldwide.

BioChimPharm’s medicines contain specially selected phages that even destroy those bacteria against which antibiotics are powerless. Phage therapy has a particular role in the fight against antibiotic resistance. The mission of BioChimPharm is to eradicate the use of antibiotics and overcome resistant infections.


BioChimPharm continues to develop the rich history of phage technology from its offices in Gotua Street, Tbilisi, Georgia.