A consortium of investors, including Heartcore Capital, HCVC, Financière Saint-James, Kima Ventures, and Kost Capital, have contributed €3 million to the pre-seed fundraising of Nūmi, a French biotech business that was the first to produce breast milk from cell cultures.
The additional funding will help the business grow its scientific teams, advance its next stage of research and development, and move the company closer to product and corporate marketing.
Nūmi, an organization that aims to transform the baby nutrition sector, claims that this accomplishment is a critical step toward its goal of redefining newborn health by giving women who are unable or unwilling to breastfeed an alternative to cow’s milk.
“I am extremely proud to conclude this first round of financing, which marks a crucial stage in our development for us and our teams. The support of major investors in new technologies supports our ambition to become a leader in this sector. All families want to give their children the best: we want to help them achieve this, thanks to science,” says Eden Banon-Lagrange, co-founder and CEO of Nūmi.
Genuine breast milk
Seeing a gap in the market, Eden Banon-Lagrange and Eugénie Pezé-Heidsieck, the founders of Nūmi, are creating a cell culture platform that replicates in vivo breast milk in bioreactors using cells extracted from mammary glands. Seventy percent of women choose not to breastfeed or have difficulties nursing.
The 1,500 constituents found in human breast milk are absent from cow’s milk substitutes, which are deficient in vital nutrients and components for baby development. According to the startup, it can lead to allergies and digestive issues in a lot of babies.
With breast milk being the best food for infants, the innovative cell-culture technology will offer a natural solution for babies’ optimal development. Its nutritive qualities and ease of digestion increase immunity, control metabolism, and satiety, and promote brain growth.
The Singaporean startup TurtleTree was the market leader in terms of competitors, having previously developed human breast milk through cell culture. But in order to create the milk protein lactoferrin and lead the way in the production of animal-free proteins, the company switched to precision fermentation.
“Numi is our third Synbio investment, following earlier investments in Gourmey and Neoplants. We are convinced that Synbio will dramatically change how everyday products are made. Numi’s vision of empowering parents in need to feed their infants with real breastmilk while retaining the convenience of formula milk immediately struck a chord with us,” comments Yohan Pereira, Principal at Hearcore Capital.