Boston company seeks to solve key infant formula shortcoming

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In Boston, Massachusetts, biological engineering company Conagen has developed a process to produce lactoferrin, an abundant protein in breast milk that acts as an antimicrobial and antiviral agent.

Currently, makers of infant formula rely on lactoferrin extracted from cow milk in a costly purification process that simultaneously removes several key nutrients.

“The main key drivers of our platform are speed, cost, and quality,” says Richik Nilay Mukherjee, PhD, Scientific Innovation Officer at Conagen. “The way our work is inspired from nature motivates our vision of how we do science in a fast, sustainable, and cost-competitive way.”

Conagen is waiting for FDA approval for its lactoferrin to be used in infant formula. Lactoferrin can also be used to treat iron deficiency and in pharmaceutical applications as a bone marrow stimulant.