New York’s Helaina Ready to Commercialize Animal-Free Lactoferrin

After achieving a large-scale manufacturing milestone, bioactive protein company Helaina announces that its first high-value ingredient —animal-free lactoferrin — is ready for commercialization to create consumer products focused on immune health

Founded in 2019 in New York City, Helaina has raised more than $25 million from leading investors. Helaina is a member of the Precision Fermentation Alliance, a new trade organization formed to promote precision fermentation as a solution for a more resilient and sustainable food system. 

A protein found in breast milk, lactoferrin is known for improved nutrient absorption, cognitive support, and antimicrobial defense. Helaina says it improves infant formula and functional foods, such as nutritional bars or supplements.

“Helaina is now producing Lactoferrin at scale, but that’s just the beginning,” said Laura Katz, founder and CEO of Helaina.

A scientist working with animal-free lactoferrin
Image courtesy of Helaina

Immune-boosting proteins

Helaina harnesses precision fermentation to manufacture immune-nourishing ingredients not derived from animals.

“We’re working to change the landscape of functional foods one immune-boosting protein at a time. Our precision fermentation platform can make all bioactive proteins to support immune health, and is a gateway to a new and reliable source of high-value ingredients. We’re now primed to move from R&D toward commercialization,” continued Katz.

Working with manufacturing partners, Helaina is shifting from R&D to commercialization readiness. It recently achieved a milestone by manufacturing more than 75,000 servings.

In its early stages, the biotech focused on disrupting the $70 billion infant nutrition category with improved formulas. Now the company aims to meet consumer demand and offer the immunity support of breast milk proteins to all ages.

CTO Anthony Clark and a team member
Image courtesy of Helaina

Commercializing breast milk protein 

Laura Katz also announced Tim Brown as a new board of directors member. Former CEO of Evolve BioSystems and executive at Mead Johnson Nutrition and P&G, he will is bringing decades of experience in OTC healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and infant-nutrition brands to Helaina.

“Helaina is challenging the status quo around what food can do for immunity,” said Nate Cooper of Barrel Ventures. 

“With this latest manufacturing achievement, the company is now moving toward bringing their proteins to market. I was drawn to Helaina for the possibilities of its precision fermentation platform, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for bringing bioactive proteins to a range of functional foods,” he added.

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