Technocrat Bill Gates has received a lot of attention for his global health policy prescriptions related to COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccines. The tycoon’s enthusiasm for experimental biotech injections should come as no surprise, given his longstanding global investments in vaccine-focused organizations and programs. However, Mr. Gates also funds numerous other initiatives, all of which—like his vaccine efforts—feature a near-evangelical belief in the power of science and technology to do Mother Nature one better.
The latest Gates-backed venture to attract notice is a Durham, North Carolina-based biotechnology start-up called Biomilq, which just raised $3.5 million to develop lab-cultured breast milk. Leading the productive round of venture capital fundraising was Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund established in 2015 by Gates and a coalition of private investors to “advance energy innovations.” Fellow investors include Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg, among others.
In case it isn’t obvious why an ostensibly climate-change-focused investment group of mostly men would be interested in a women-led biotech baby formula company, the media spelled it out in the headlines: According to Biomilq, the artificial, lab-cultured “breast milk” will have a smaller carbon footprint than ordinary baby formula. Further emphasizing the start-up’s apparently prosocial goals, one of the founders told journalists that the company “made it clear to potential investors from day one that profitability wasn’t the core interest.” However, after explaining that the start-up was “very careful about which investment firms it took money from, focusing on mission-driven investors rather than profit-motivated ones,” she admitted that “anybody worth half their salt can see that there’s potentially a very large market here.”
As early as the 1930s, researchers suspected that commercial formula had a downside and was increasing infant mortality. This negative association became more obvious in the 1970s when Nestlé began aggressively marketing its infant formula to impoverished mothers in developing countries, contributing to the malnutrition and deaths of millions of infants. Although the international public health community subsequently reinforced its promotion of breastfeeding, needed—and related—improvements such as safe drinking water and sanitation have lagged behind.More Gates-Funded “Brave New World” Science: Fake Breast Milk • Children’s Health Defense