The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and decrease in the discovery rate of novel antibiotics takes mankind back to the ‘pre-antibiotic era’ and search for alternative treatments. Bacteriophages have been one of promising alternative agents which can be utilised for medicinal and biological control purposes in agriculture and related fields. The idea to treat bacterial infections with phages came out of the pioneering work of Félix d‘Hérelle but this was overshadowed by the success of antibiotics. Recent renewed interest in phage therapy is dictated by its advantages most importantly by their specificity against the bacterial targets. This prevents complications such as antibiotic-induced dysbiosis and secondary infections. This article is compiled by the participants of the Expert Round Table conference ‘Bacteriophages as tools for therapy, prophylaxis and diagnostics’ (19–21 October 2015) at the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology and Virology, Tbilisi, Georgia. The first paper from the Round Table was published in the Biotechnology Journal1. This In Focus article expands from this paper and includes recent developments reported since then by the Expert Round Table participants, including the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol for the applications of bacteriophages.