Breakthrough: Two women producing breastmilk — outside the body.
Updated: Dec 2, 2022
Leila (left) trying not to laugh at Michelle’s (right) breast pun
Durham, NC (February 6th, 2020)
It may not sound groundbreaking, but hear us out: Two women may have helped make breastmilk this week. One cell biologist. One food scientist. We are those women. We’re Michelle and Leila, the founders of BIOMILQ, and we’re on a mission to provide the next generation every opportunity to thrive. We aspire to produce a cultured, human-milk product that offers families a new option for feeding babies — one that’s nutritionally equivalent to breastmilk and cultivated under safe conditions using our first-of-its-kind technology.
That’s why we’re so excited to share that the results from Leila’s proof-of-concept experiments are in — we can confirm the samples contain the predominant protein and sugar components found in breastmilk!
Why this result matters? Breastmilk contains thousands of unique molecules blended in perfect proportions to nourish a human through crucial stages of development. To achieve this ideal blend, we believe human mammary cells are best equipped to create human milk; we’re all here because these powerhouse cells have been producing milk for millions of years. We are the first company to produce vital components of milk together within the same system using a process that is sterile from start to finish and free of all contamination. Most importantly, this innovation allows us to create the full constellation of complex components in perfect proportion.
Why are we doing this? The evidence is clear: Breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure healthy development in children. But exclusive breastfeeding is unrealistic for many and impossible for some — in fact, 84% of moms transition to dairy-based infant formula before the recommended six month exclusivity period. Whether it’s low milk production, incompatible workplaces, or the ongoing stigma around breastfeeding in public, families feed infant formula out of necessity rather than preference. Parents and caregivers are left with suboptimal choices, and they want an option that doesn’t force a trade-off between babies’ nutrition and mothers’ wellbeing.
As women and scientists, and a mother, we are over-the-moon at the enormous potential this proves — the potential to leverage technology to advance infant nutrition and empower parents to make fewer trade-offs in feeding decisions.
So where do we go from here? Now that we have achieved this significant milestone, we are eager to work with families, pediatricians, the breastfeeding and lactation community, among others, to create the best product possible for babies and parents around the globe. We will iterate and optimize our production process toward the goal of bringing cultured breastmilk to market.
We believe parents (adoptive and biological), caregivers, and infants deserve more options in early-stage nutrition. We’re determined to give them just that and create a better world for future generations. While there is no replacement for breastmilk, we believe we can harness the power of science, technology, and nature to deliver comprehensive and sustainable infant nutrition.
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