New York startup using precision fermentation to make breast milk

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In New York, startup Helaina is using precision fermentation to produce breast milk that more closely mimics the real thing. 

Founder Laura Katz recently told The Spoon that Helaina’s proteins are 99% identical to breast milk, and has the same antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and immune-boosting characteristics. 

“Our goal is to replicate the immune equivalent proteins found in breast milk,” she says. In addition, a breast milk alternative can help allay concerns over chemicals like PFAS being passed from mother to infant. 

The company is seeking FDA approval and has raised $4.6 million to date, which it is using to pilot the process. It has not, however, indicated a target launch date.  

Other startups pursuing breast milk include Biomilq and Turtle Tree Labs.