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Startup Aims to Remove Cow Milk From Baby Formula

Silicon Valley company BioNacent is working to create nutritionally rich infant formula by swapping human proteins in place of milk from cows.


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Silicon Valley-based startup BioNacent is developing an infant formula that mimics human breast milk with the mission of replacing current formulations that rely on milk from cows. CEO and molecular biologist Craig Rouskey revealed that human breast milk contains more than 1,600 distinct proteins that aid in child development and says bovine milk is far inferior nutritionally for human children. The company—still in its early stages—is replicating human proteins by inserting human genes in-vitro into fungi and yeast. BioNacent has successfully replicated alpha-lactalbumin—a simple protein found in human breast milk—as a proof of concept in hopes of attracting investment capital. Rouskey also founded Real Vegan Cheese in 2014 and is concurrently working on creating cheese without the cow using similar technology.

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