North Carolina startup claims first cell-cultured human breast milk

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In North Carolina, startup Biomilq is claiming the first cell-cultured human breast milk and advancing its process using human mammary cells. 

Instead of targeting components within human breast milk, Biomilq aims to produce milk that closely matches the macronutrient profile of breast milk, including the correct types and proportions of proteins, complex carbohydrates, fatty acids, and other bioactive lipids. 

Biomilq Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Leila Strickland says she was inspired by her own struggle to breast feed her children. “Our core hypothesis has always been that milk is greater than the sum of its parts, which all work together as a dynamic system,” she says in a press release. “Our latest work demonstrates that much of the complexity of milk can be achieved by replicating the intricate relationship between the cells that produce it and the conditions they experience inside the body during lactation.”

While not fully identical to mother’s milk—hormonal changes, baby’s cues, skin-to-skin contact and environment all trigger changes in composition—Biomilq hopes it can offer better a supplemental feeding option than formula. 

The company will now work to further optimize the nutritional profile of its milk and confirm the bioactives in its product. “We have extensive safety and efficacy testing to prove to our team, government regulators, and our consumers that our product is a safe alternative to bovine-based infant formula,” the company adds.