Sunday, October 20, 2013

Significant corporate developments in the US human milk marketplace

The founder of Prolacta Bioscience, an oft-criticized company that uses breastmilk given for free by moms to produce products it sells for profit to hospitals –for premature infants – has started a competing company.

Elena Medo says she sold her stock last year in Prolacta and says "worldwide the only competition have is my old company."

Medolac Laboratories (Neolac) will sell human-milk derived fortifier and other human-milk based products for use in both hospitals and at-home use. Prolacta, which recently expanded its facility to allow it to store as much as 110,000 litres of frozen human milk, sells its fortifier at a price of $6.25/ml, or $185/ounce.

Medo has secured suppliers of human milk by partnering with two organizations:
Current ads on Only The Breast, Oct. 20, 2013
•  Only The Breast, which up until now has operated an Internet-based classified ad human milk selling site, said in a news release Friday it is abandoning that model and will work to direct its stable of sellers to Medo's new firm. Of note, Only The Breast is under fire in a soon-to-be published research report published Oct. 21 which found high rates of bacteria in samples purchased from people selling human milk from its site.

Image from Mothers Milk Cooperative website.
Mothers Milk Cooperative, founded in May 2013 and described by Medo as a "sister company" that will provide the "supply-side" for Medolac, allows women to donate in a "Pay It Forward" model, or to directly sell their milk for "Milk Money" at $1/ounce. Mothers Milk Cooperative plans to set up hospital-based milk bank sites.

The ethical problems with Prolacta's model are obvious. The jury's still out on Medo's new model.

Sources: Interview with Medo, August 2013
PRNewswire, Medolac Laboratories and Mothers Milk Cooperative announce agreement 
Elena Medo Linked-In Profile
News Release, Only The Breast announces innovative new milk banking partnership - Oct 18 2013 (via a receiving journalist)


Previous Human Milk News posts on Prolacta.
Previous Human Milk News post on Only The Breast.


zinnias said...

Jodine, do you know if Medolac provided any funding for the just-published study by Keim et al in Pediatrics?

Jodine Chase said...

From the study: "supported by a grant from The Ohio State University Food Innovation Center and internal support."