Women-owned Startups Collaborate Toward a Scalable and Cost-Effective Future for Sustainable Biotech
Tiamat Sciences and BIOMILQ, two women-owned and led biotechnology startups in Research Triangle Park, NC, have collaborated on a project demonstrating that a plant-based recombinant protein, Human Prolactin, is just as effective as the commercially available alternative, and it's ten times more affordable. This work presents many opportunities for scalability in biotechnology using these plant-based proteins, especially in the cell-based food industry where cell culture media is a huge cost driver.
Tiamat Sciences, led by CEO France-Emmanuelle Adil, is developing animal-free proteins from a versatile plant-based production platform that uses transient expression, vertical farming, and data-driven approaches to develop a new generation of proteins that can be produced faster and more cost-effectively than other production platforms.
BIOMILQ, led by CEO Leila Strickland, Ph.D., is a mammary biotechnology start-up leveraging its patented technology to produce functional human milk components for products in the early-life nutrition and life sciences industries through cell culture technology. By leveraging the potential of human mammary cells, BIOMILQ can bring more of the functional benefits of breast milk to more babies.
BIOMILQ and Tiamat Sciences are both headquartered in the Alexandria Center for AgTech – Research Triangle Park, a hub for emerging and global agtech companies. Alexandria is on a mission to create and grow life science ecosystems and clusters that ignite and accelerate the world's leading innovators in their noble pursuit to advance human health.
In three months, Tiamat Sciences successfully produced Human Prolactin, a vital biomolecule for lactation, using an entirely animal-free production process. The company's CEO and founder, France-Emmanuelle Adil explains how this is possible, "Our technology allows for rapid development of new proteins in comparison to other systems, such as the six months needed for mammalian lines. When a protein is successfully expressed and purified, we can produce it at a larger scale without further major optimizations."
BIOMILQ found that Tiamat Sciences' plant-sourced Prolactin was just as effective in their system compared to commercially available Prolactin. Adil is excited about what the results of the collaboration with BIOMILQ mean for the biomanufacturing industry, "This project was our first and we are glad to have done it in collaboration with BIOMILQ to show the industry how powerful plant molecular farming can be when associated with cell-based bioproduction."
The ability to produce high-value biomolecules without animal-based production methods reduces cost significantly while contributing to a more sustainable biotech ecosystem. Tiamat Sciences' plant-based proteins are currently one-tenth of the cost of alternative commercially available proteins, and with their scalable production platform, they believe that in time they can continue to reduce the cost to one-thousandth of their competitor's products.
Scale-up is one of the most pressing challenges for cell-based innovations, and using cost-effective inputs is key to creating an affordable and accessible product. BIOMILQ's CEO and co-founder, Leila Strickland, speaks on how products like Tiamat Sciences' could greatly impact the scalability of cell-based products, "The commercialization of food products made from cell culture absolutely depends on a drastic reduction in the cost of production. Cell culture media is the biggest driver of cost, and also the most significant opportunity to reduce the cost. A scalable, versatile source of biological media components such as growth factors and hormones is essential. This collaboration demonstrates meaningful progress toward scaling our products and gives us confidence that we can overcome this critical challenge."
This collaboration signals Tiamat Sciences' expansion into many sectors of biotechnology, including the pharmaceutical industry. With the shared goal of advancing science toward a healthier and more sustainable planet, BIOMILQ and Tiamat Sciences are thrilled to have found a collaborative environment in a known competitive industry. Strickland comments, "The collaboration with Tiamat has been a natural fit for us, and it's been particularly satisfying for me as a founder," Adil continues, "I am proud to show the world that women collaborating together can accomplish great things."
Tiamat Sciences is reinventing recombinant proteins to fuel the next generation of biotech companies across cellular agriculture, regenerative medicine, vaccine production, and more. Using the power of plants, Tiamat provides animal-free recombinant proteins at a fraction of their cost with a reduced carbon footprint. The team is on track to become a fast-growing supplier of recombinant proteins.
BIOMILQ is a women-owned and science-led mammary biotechnology start-up leveraging its patented technology to produce functional cell-cultured human milk components outside of the body. To bridge the gap between breast milk and infant formula, BIOMILQ aims to revolutionize early-life nutrition and the life science industry by bringing more of the functional benefits of breast milk to more babies.