Jerusalem-based biotech start-up Exosomm is exploring natural mechanisms in human breast milk to create a bioactive ingredient – actually made from upcycled cheese – that could aid inflammatory disorders.
The start-up upcycles byproducts of the traditional cheese making process to create the potent functional ingredient that is also found in human breast milk. It has already reached the commercial production capacity of its patent-protected exosomes for the medical food space.
Exosomm’s technology was developed in the Israeli Hadassah University Medical Center and isolates exosomes – natural particles in maternal milk that play a role in the healthy development of the immune system.
Exosomes are small nanoparticles that naturally accumulate at high concentrations in human breast milk. They contain beneficial microRNAs – small, single-stranded, non-coding RNA molecules – that are shown to have a significant impact on early child development and on infants’ future health.
The Exosomm research team found that different mammals (human, cow, or sheep) share similar exosome composition, which they say indicates the evolutionary importance of exosomes in offspring.
Professor Shimon Reif, MD, head of the department of paediatrics at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, said: “Exosomm’s technology is based on cutting-edge scientific discoveries and is inspired by the virtues of mother’s milk and its unique health properties. We believe adults can benefit from exosomes as a valuable nutrient to help better manage chronic metabolic inflammatory disorders and to boost overall well-being.”
He continued: “Further clinical research is in the pipeline, and we currently are focusing our studies on the role of exosomes in managing IBD conditions, such as Crohn’s and Colitis.”
The start-up collaborated with Ba’emek Tech, a subsidiary of Tnuva Food Industries, Israel’s leading food group and producer of fresh dairy products. Ba’emek specialises in the production of whey products and provides the raw material as well as the full commercial technological infrastructure necessary for Exosomm’s progress and scale-up goals.
Netta Granot, co-founder and CEO of Exosomm, added: “One of the challenges was to transform the developed technology into a commercially viable process. It was essential to find a facility that can collect the whey left over from cheesemaking and process it in a way that ensures the isolated exosomes maintain their unique set of bioavailable properties. Moreover, it was important for us to derive the milk benefits without exerting any burden on milk production. That’s why we run a circular system that depends solely on the whey side stream of the cheese industry.”
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