Biomilq, a start up based in North Carolina, is attempting to reproduce mother’s breast milk in a lab.
One June 16, the start up announced it had raised $3.5 million to continue its work from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ investment firm focused on climate change
CNBC news reports: Breakthough Ventures’ investing coalition includes Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Masayoshi Son, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg and Marc Benioff.
Biomilq co-founder and CEO Michelle Egger is a food scientist who worked on the Larabar at General Mills before moving onto business school and a stint at the Gates Foundation. She and her co-founder, CSO Leila Strickland, hope that the breast milk produced by Biomilq from culturing mammary epithelial cells will help reduce the carbon footprint from the global infant formula market, which Fortune Business Insights says will surpass $103 billion by 2026. The top infant formula manufacturers include Abbott Labs, Danone and Nestle.
“Right now, by the estimations we have been able to make, at least 10% of the dairy market globally ends up in infant formula,” Eggers said. “That means per-infant-fed formula in the U.S., 5,700 metric tons of CO2 are produced, and 4,300 gallons of freshwater are consumed each year to feed a child. Parents want to do what’s best for their kids but shouldn’t have to decide between feeding their children and protecting the planet.”
For Strickland, the journey has been more personal. She struggled to breastfeed her son when he was born prematurely.
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