Co-Op Milk: The Remarkable Medolac Difference

Medolac specializes in providing innovative, proprietary, human-donor milk products for clinical use (primarily in hospital Neonatal ICUs). As a critical element of the business model, women are economically empowered though their affiliated cooperative milk banks.  Medolac, a public benefit corporation, clearly articulates the mission, vision, and business proposition of human milk banking to investors and stakeholders.

The infant nutrition movement has set its sights on improving access to human milk for every baby - and Medolac has noticed the growing size and intensity of demand in this market. Because Medolac produces the only donor milk that is shelf-stable, the emerging interest in the company from international as well as domestic markets has been unprecedented.

Jim first learned about Medolac through Investors' Circle, although, ultimately, he was the only investor from the group that decided to go ahead and invest. The timing of the investment was critical to Elena Medo when she was looking for aligned investors to help continue to grow the company by committing both knowledge and investment capital. Learn more about PeakChange’s initial investment in Medolac in 2015 in our previous blog, Summer Additions.

The Need

Due to significant American cultural shifts that have altered child rearing customs and norms over the last 50 years, infants’ immune systems are increasingly less strong than they used to be. According to the Social Tech Guide, more than 15 million babies (more than one in 10) are born prematurely in the United States each year.  Despite knowledge that feeding preterm infants human milk reduces the leading causes of their deaths by 50%, milk banks in the US currently meet the needs of only 3% of this population.

Jim initially became interested in investing in Medolac because he was intrigued by the enhanced immune factors that result from co-mingled milk and by the ability to democratize breast milk for all babies. PeakChange became familiar with Mother’s Milk Cooperative – the only milk bank owned and controlled by milk donors and the first paid milk donation program in the U.S.  Learn more about the science behind milk testing, screening, and the Medolac Difference.

Medolac & Social Impact

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At PeakChange, we frequently cite Medolac as an example of rapid social impact that matters at scale for one of our most vulnerable populations - infants. Human milk is life saving for preterm infants and optimal for every infant. Around the world, informal milk selling and sharing has emerged as a way to address the unmet need for donor milk.  In an effort to address this need at scale, Medolac is the first milk bank in the world that provides donor milk to any baby and any family that needs it. Other milk banks impose rationing and restrictions on use.  The development of the first cooperative milk bank has eliminated the need for such supply limitations and has allowed Medolac to support the decision of healthcare providers and families to make healthier choices. Medolac’s prestigious hospital partners, who have been frustrated by the chronic shortages, high prices and recalls plaguing other milk banks, couldn’t be more delighted.

Medolac is the only human milk company in the world led by a mother daughter duo, focused on social impact that matters - meeting the critical need for premature babies and empowering women.

All of this has been made possible due to Medolac’s unique partnership with the Mother's Milk cooperative - the only cooperative milk bank - where each member owns one share of the business. Members can choose from Milk Money, a paid milk donation program - or Pay It Forward, a charity program for infants with a medical need for human milk. The thousands of Mother's Milk cooperative members are dedicated and passionate women who share the vision of saving lives by providing their breast milk for the tiniest, most fragile patients.

Got Milk?

Medolac has taken the lead position globally in innovative infant nutrition products, serving five thousand babies over 1.5 million ounces of milk in three countries. Designed to operate as a platform for personalized infant nutrition, the company has invigorated the infant nutrition market with innovations and exciting offerings such as human milk oligosaccharides and lactose free human milk. Medolac currently offers three products: Co-Op Donor Milk, Benefit-20, and LacFree-20. Co-Op Donor Milk can be used by any baby, Benefit-20 is used in hospitals and homes to support infants that require additional calorie dense nutrition, and LacFree-20 is a lactose free ready to feed product.

 

As a global leader in infant nutrition products, its technological advancements have positioned Medolac to take this important concept of human milk banking to scale in an innovative way.

This blog is co-authored with Adrianne Weir of Medolac