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The Biomilq startup is researching ways to synthesis breast milk in the laboratory. This innovation has attracted $3.5 million from Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
The emergence of food production companies with unique product offerings are rare and when they do, they do not make headlines like their tech counterparts. Understanding the need to utilize biological principles applicable to food production is a noteworthy venture that has the capacity to reduce the pressure on human and environmental resources. This impact model is Biomilq’s motivation and the infant nutrition firm with the firm’s ongoing research on the production of breast milk from cultured mammary epithelial cells. For this rare venture, Biomilq has secured funding from top investors including Bill Gates’ climate change firm Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
Biomilq’s Climate Change Solution
The production of infant nutrition and subsequent consumption puts enormous pressure on the earth’s Carbon reserve as argued by Michelle Egger, co-founder and CEO of Biomilq. The fundamental methods Biomilq is using is generally safe and widely used. By culturing mammary cells outside the body and leveraging their natural ability to produce all 2500+ components of breastmilk. The North Carolina based bio-nutrition startup recently produced human casein and lactose and believe that they can fully replicate the nutritional profile of breastmilk.
“Right now, by the estimations we have been able to make, at least 10% of the dairy market globally ends up in infant formula. That means per-infant-fed formula in the U.S., 5,700 metric tons of CO2 are produced, and 4,300 gallons of freshwater are consumed each year to feed a child. Parents want to do what’s best for their kids but shouldn’t have to decide between feeding their children and protecting the planet.”
By successfully producing human breast milk outside of the body, This dependence of alternative infant formulas will generally reduce translating to a new environmental break.
Why Biomilq Attracts Bill Gates
Biomilq was founded by Michelle Egger and Leila Strickland. Michelle Egger as profiled by Josh Peters is a food scientist by training and worked for a number of years at General Mills, where she invented new processing techniques and did consumer insight work, working on organic foods like the famous LÄRABARs. In this context, she developed an interest in the daily decisions mothers make about their child’s nutrition. This led to her starting an MBA at Duke University with an emphasis on social impact entrepreneurship, specifically food insecurity, malnutrition, and global food systems. Last summer, she worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, researching “affordable plant-based protein sources for low-and-middle-income countries,” which deepened her interest in early childhood nutrition.
Leila Strickland has a Ph.D. in cell biology, with over 10 years of experience conducting original research on fundamental cellular processes. The passion and experience Leila bring on board is a major input to the success of Biomilq. The ladies’ synergy and determination remains a major reason why they have attracted interests from the world’s top environmental climate change advocate.
The concept of synthesizing breast milk from the laboratory sounds overhyped but the science of the 21st century has brought impossibilities to reality. With the seed funds obtained, Biomilq will hire new staff and continue working to perfect their invention. Several advocates for a better future and safer environment await the successful commercialization of Biomilq’s products.