Helaina moves to large-scale commercialization, debuts bioactive protein

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Helaina CEO Laura Katz and team of scientists.
Helaina CEO Laura Katz and team of scientists.

Related tags Breast milk bioactive lactoferrin

After founding Helaina in 2019, the company’s CEO said she is building a precision fermentation platform to manufacture bioactive proteins.

Helaina recently hit a major milestone, announcing it has built a precision fermentation platform to manufacture all bioactive proteins, with Lactoferrin being the inaugural ingredient.

As Helaina charts its path to large-scale commercialization, the biotech company shared three big developments: The production of the breast milk protein Lactoferrin, a recent large-scale manufacturing milestone of over 75,000 servings, and an expanded product portfolio.


Helaina unveiled its key ingredient, Lactoferrin. The company said this is the first of many bioactive proteins that Helaina will biomanufacture through its precision fermentation platform. Helaina is now producing the breast milk protein at scale with its manufacturing partners.

“The first immune-nourishing protein we are making is Lactoferrin, the breast milk protein which is known for improved nutrient absorption, cognitive support, reducing inflammation, and antimicrobial defense. Our Helaina-branded ingredients are more than just another source of protein, they will offer a new way to support your immune system through what you eat,” Helaina founder and CEO Laura Katz​ told NutraIngredients-USA.

From R&D to commercialization

Helaina is shifting from R&D to large-scale commercialization readiness, with a recent large-scale manufacturing milestone of more than 75,000 servings. The company said it is now one step closer to democratizing access to the first of many immune-nourishing proteins and helping to solve supply issues for infant formula in the United States.

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

Katz told us they are focused on Lactoferrin for now, and that they’re currently occupied with its regulatory process which is the next step in the company’s commercialization timeline.

Portfolio expansion

In addition to its enhanced infant formula, Helaina is working to meet booming consumer demand for food with immunity power for all ages. Helaina’s is expanding its product portfolio to bring the immune support of breast milk proteins to all stages of life in the form of functional foods from like nutritional bars as well as dietary supplements.

Ride to destiny

In describing her journey, Katz said it comes down to one word: “Thrilling. Time has flown since I first conceived of Helaina during a subway ride in New York City. Now, four years after founding the company in 2019, we’re scaling up manufacturing in record-time. This milestone means we’re one giant step closer to bringing our bioactive proteins into your homes, and pushing the boundaries of what food can do for health along the way. Our quick move from R&D to commercialization readiness also makes me so proud of my team–each and every person who believed in the mission of Helaina, pushed on during the challenges of a pandemic, and combined creativity and science to help us successfully build our precision fermentation platform.”

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