Startups latch onto breast milk — no boobs needed

Two labs aim to make a more natural alternative to baby formula.


August 26, 2020

Can disembodied mammary cells make enough human breast milk to feed 63% of the world’s infants? That’s the cream — er, dream — for 2 biotech startups.

Mother Tech’s breast milk could make a splash

Singapore-based TurtleTree Labs uses stem cells from donor breast milk to grow lactating mammary cells. In North Carolina, Biomilq does something similar with epithelial cells.

Investors latched onto the idea, pumping $3.5m+ into both companies. If they’re successful, the concept could be a cash cow.

Globally, only 37% of infants are breastfed at 6 months without supplementation. Formula’s fine, but it lacks the complex carbohydrates found in human breast milk.

Here’s the squeeze 

Safety testing is ethically tricky – nobody puts Baby in a blind study – and regulation will be a whole ’nother thing. Meanwhile, companies must slash production costs to make the milk affordable.

But lemme tell you: As someone who’s had, well, skin in the game, this is a fascinating development.

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