Huh? Lab-produced breast milk, Bill Gates and climate change? How can these possibly go together?!
Well, to be fair, it’s not just Bill Gates – technically, this new initiative is supported by the likes of Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Masayoshi Son, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg and Marc Benioff… to name a few.
Okay, we’ll stop teasing. Last month, North Carolina startup Biomilq announced $3.5 million in Series A funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures. That’s Bill Gates’ climate change nonprofit, which seeks to fund initiatives that support sustainability in innovative ways. (We’re big fans, if you couldn’t guess.)
The “milk” will replace baby formula (for the greater good)
The reason they’re excited about Biomilq is simple: it’s going to replace a TON of baby formula.
And, in case you didn’t know, the baby formula industry actually leaves a huge environmental footprint.
According to co-founder and CEO Michelle Egger, more than 5,700 metric tons of CO2 are used to produce baby formula for each child that uses it. Not only that, but 4,300 gallons of freshwater are consumed each year as well!
So these aren’t baby steps we’re talking about… this is a big deal. And Biomilq is offering a big solution. But naturally, that leaves a question…
What’s in this stuff?!
Biomilq is produced by culturing mammary epithelial cells.
In other words, they “borrow” some of the starting blocks and then use laboratory techniques to cultivate it into “real” breast milk.
Biomilq is virtually indistinguishable from “authentic” breast milk, especially from a nutritional standpoint. This makes it a safe, effective replacement that anyone can use – in theory. Naturally, they still have their work cut out for them, which will include extensive testing.
They’re not the only ones with the idea, of course. Another company, Turtle Tree Labs in Singapore, is working toward a similar solution.
As of this writing, the co-founders are still hiring for key positions at the company. They’re optimistic, especially after this round of funding… they hope to have their product on shelves across the globe within 5 years.
There are plenty of other benefits, too
The benefits of Biomilq go beyond the reduction in carbon emissions.
For example, some mothers – such as Biomilq co-founder and CSO Leila Strickland – have experienced difficulties producing breast milk.
“Breastfeeding my child had been important to me because of the nutritional and immunological benefits,” Strickland told CNBC. “But my son was born a few weeks early and had a tough time latching on and nursing effectively, so my milk production was not fully stimulated.”
With an alternative like Biomilq, she’s able to provide the same nutritional benefits. It’s a win for all involved!
So, what do you think? Would you feel comfortable giving your child breast milk created in a lab? (Maybe if Bill Gates tries it first, eh?)
Learn more on the official Biomilq website: https://www.biomilq.com/