In Boston, infant nutrition company NAMUH and cell programming giant Ginkgo Bioworks have announced a multi-product collaboration to develop Human Milk Oligosaccharides (HMOs) structurally identical to those found in human breast milk.
HMOs are essential, fiber-like nutrients unique to human milk that provide an important energy source to beneficial gut bacteria in infants. Despite being the third most abundant component in human milk, HMOs are currently a small component in infant formulas—if present at all.
Currently, NAMUH’s proprietary technology provides for a cost-effective source of a family of HMOs via yeast fermentation. Through this partnership, NAMUH will leverage Ginkgo’s expertise in yeast strain engineering and fermentation process development to enable the production of various HMOs through yeast fermentation and unlock the possibility of making infant formula more nutritionally robust and closer to human breast milk.