The new products – Maolactin for Gut Support and Maolactin for Anti-Inflammatory Activity – are the results of combining what Maolac describes as the ‘old and the new’: breastmilk and artificial intelligence.
The inspiration comes from the more traditional element of this development. Breastmilk is celebrated for its immune-boosting properties, contribution to brain and bone development, and is thought to exert anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing inflammatory cell function.
“At Maolac, we recognised the remarkable benefits of breastmilk in promoting immune health and overall wellness,” said co-founder and CEO Maya Ashkenazi. “This recognition led us to craft Maoreka, a unique algorithm that leverages computational biology and generative AI to reimagine the composition realised within breastmilk as gold standard.”
Indeed, the ‘newer’ component, Maolac’s Maoreka algorithm and generative AI technology, allows the company to identify specific protein combinations for specific indications through a comprehensive literature survey and desired keyword search. “This enables us to predict and produce new protein mixtures, ensuring they are active and precise for any desired effect,” explained Ashkenazi.
In the case of Maolac’s new products, the proteins come from bovine colostrum – the initial milk secreted by cows during the first day after calving – but with high similarity (more than 95%) to human breastmilk.
High similarity (more than 95%) to breastmilk
Maolac’s new protein mixes are heat- and pH-proof, and according to the company are designed to ‘fit seamlessly’ into various daily routines and consumption formats.
“Our mixes do not affect the organoleptic properties of the finished product. They can be easily mixed with water, creating a quick and convenient beverage. But that’s not all – we’ve crafted these mixes for ingredients in various products, such as functional beverages, sports bars, smoothies and more. This flexibility allows consumers to choose the most convenient way to incorporate our products into their daily routines,” the CEO told FoodNavigator.
While the exact composition of Maolac’s new products is considered proprietary data, the company did reveal that they contain proteins of high similarity to human breast milk. “Evolution naturally honed these proteins to provide the proper nutrition and targeted benefits for gut health and anti-inflammatory support.”
“It’s Mother Nature’s wisdom combined with our scientific approach.”
Maolactin for Gut Health and Maolactin for Anti-Inflammatory Activity are the first products to be launched, but they represent the start-up’s ‘ongoing commitment to innovation’, we were told. “Maolac combines specific advancements with innovative manufacturing processes to develop products that promote wellness and address specific health goals.”
The company is first targeting the US (where it has achieved Self Affirmed GRAS) and Europe, but aims to have a global reach. “The idea for Maolac was born out of a desire to provide high quality, affordable supplements to consumers worldwide, right here from Israel.”
From colostrum to beyond
Maolac’s Maoreka platform allows for the creation of ‘uniquely potent’ functional ingredients that can be integrated into any food or supplement, according to Ashkenazi. “We keep on investing heavily in continuously upgrading our AI capabilities to provide more targeted protein-based compositions from plant and animal sources.”
Indeed, Maolac is not focused on identifying functional proteins in colostrum alone. Earlier this year, Ashkenaz told FoodNavigator the start-up no longer wants to be thought of as ‘the colostrum company’, but rather a biotech championing biofunctional proteins from both animal and non-animal sources.
Over this last 18 months, Maolac has observed its technology can be applied to many non-animal side steams, whether that be fungi, or algae and other plants. “We want those sources to be sustainable, to bring good to the world. Someone’s else’s waste could be our gold,” stressed the CEO. “So that is what we’re doing: exploring different raw materials from which to create premium ingredients.”
And according to market data, the demand is there. Allied Market Research estimates the global immunity-boosting food market to reach $46.9m by 2030. With Maolac’s tech, the start-up is estimating a ‘seismic shift’ in the sector.