Updated: Jun 16
From proof of concept to proof of complexity
Our team is thrilled to announce that we have produced the world’s first cell-cultured human milk outside of the breast. We find ourselves at the frontier of lactation science, helping to advance the entire field by putting mothers and babies at the forefront.
According to UC Davis Human Milk Researcher & BIOMILQ Technical Advisor Dr. Jennifer Smilowitz, “human milk is tremendously complex in both composition and structure which has made it impossible to replicate outside of the lactating parent.” Until now. In just 11 months, we have moved the field of lactation science from proof of concept to proof of complexity, producing milk compositions that look more like a symphony than a concerto. We’re a HUGE step closer to empowering parents with another infant feeding option, one that provides much of the nutrition of breastmilk with the practicality of formula.
Dr. Leila Strickland and Michelle Egger stand outside BIOMILQ HQ proudly
Our Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Leila Strickland, a cell biologist who has been envisioning milk production outside the body since struggling to breastfeed her own children, shares BIOMILQ’s approach: “Our core hypothesis has always been that milk is greater than the sum of its parts, which all work together as a dynamic system. Our latest work demonstrates that much of the complexity of milk can be achieved by replicating the intricate relationship between the cells that produce it and the conditions they experience inside the body during lactation.”
We’re not creating a handful of components like many players in this space; like many human milk researchers, we believe human milk is a complex biological system and should be brought to the world as a whole milk product that maintains the integrity of it’s incredible evolutionary origin.
We can now confirm that BIOMILQ’s product has macronutrient profiles that closely match the expected types and proportions of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids and other bioactive lipids that are known to be abundantly present in breastmilk.
This gives us the confidence to say ‘we’re making milk!’
Breastmilk, which is rich in human milk proteins, bioactive lipids, and human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), is known to support better immunological development in a child. After reviewing BIOMILQ’s latest results, Dr. Smilowitz shares that “BIOMILQ has shown it can create a product that contains a comprehensive suite of human milk proteins that not only function to nourish but also protect infants.” BIOMILQ, unlike infant formula, also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are known to have anti-inflammatory qualities that promote and sustain healthy development. In our proprietary lactation system, our cells are making numerous HMOs, including those unexplored, such as one that was recently found to correlate with speech acquisition.
Who knows what benefits we will discover with our breakthrough mammary biotechnology?
But let’s be clear, it’s not bio-identical to mother’s milk — we’re not confident it can be. Hormonal changes, baby’s cues, skin-to-skin contact, and environment all affect the dynamic complexity of breastmilk. Our product will not display the real-time composition dynamics that occur during feeding in response to the intimate relationship between mother and child and their unique environment. But, because BIOMILQ’s product is produced outside the body in a sterile controlled environment, our milk will be free from the environmental toxins, food allergens, and prescription medications that are often detected in breastmilk.
We’re not making breast milk. We’re making BIOMILQ, produced by human mammary cells, rich with the nutritional profile most suitable for supporting human life and absent of the environmental damage created by the dairy industry. Michelle Egger, Co-Founder and CEO, shares: “We have no intention to replace chestfeeding, so we’re comfortable with the differences between our product and breastmilk. Instead, we intend to offer parents another supplemental feeding option to nourish healthier babies, empower parents through choice, and contribute to a healthier planet.”
Zakiyah Williams, Lactation Services Manager at Stanford Children’s Health, IBCLC, and Technical Advisor to BIOMILQ, is thrilled about what our latest data confirms: “It is amazing that there will soon be a product to support families and provide an alternative to formula. It is not a replacement for their milk, but has implications for other families in which their milk is not an option. From adoptive families, babies with allergies and birthing parents with contraindications to providing their own milk, this is a game changing option!”
We know many parents hope to nourish their babies with our product — but, we’ll admit, we’re only in our first trimester.
We still have many exciting challenges to work through to further optimize our nutritional profile and confirm which additional bioactives, and their benefits, exist in our product. We’ll need to scale our production to make our product accessible to any parent looking for another feeding option, regardless of their circumstances. We have extensive safety and efficacy testing to prove to our team, government regulators, and our consumers that our product is a safe alternative to bovine-based infant formula.
We, as pioneers unlocking human potential with breakthrough mammary biotechnology, take doing right by people and planet both seriously and personally.