Jennewein Biotechnologie and Yili join forces in HMO research

Jennewein Biotechnologie GmbH, a German company involved in the research and manufacture of human milk oligosaccharides (HMO), and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (Yili Group), China’s leading dairy company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on infant microbiome and HMOs, to develop innovative infant formula and dairy products specifically for the Chinese market.

HMOs are complex sugar molecules found in breast milk. They are the third most abundant constituent of human milk after lipids and lactose. More than 200 structurally different HMOs have been identified.

The most abundant HMO is 2′-fucosyllactose, which is produced by about 80% of all lactating mothers at concentrations of up to 2 g/L. Studies have shown HMOs, and 2′ fucosyllactose in particular, have a positive impact on infant development. HMOs are prebiotic, i.e. they specifically promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms, and at the same time they inhibit the growth of pathogens.

Largest market for baby food.

Jennewein Biotechnologie initially launched HMO 2′-fucosyllactose onto the global baby food market in 2015.

Dr Stefan Jennewein, CEO and co-founder of Jennewein Biotechnologie said, “After already having introduced human milk oligosaccharides in other world regions, such as the key US market and selected European countries, we are very excited to work with Yili, the domestic market leader for microbiome/baby food in China.

“With 50% of the total global market volume ($76bn by 2021) China is presently the largest market for baby food. We are committed to bringing the benefits of human milk oligosaccharides for the development of a healthy infant microbiome to Chinese parents and their children.”​

Dr Gerrit Smit, managing director of Yili Innovation Center Europe, said, “Yili Group has been dedicated to Chinese breast milk composition studies for years and has initiated the establishment of a Chinese Breast Milk Database. Yili has constantly brought innovative products to the market based on scientific research, for example Pro-Kido, and is looking forward to collaborating with Jennewein in the future.”​

Jennewein Biotechnologie manufactures a portfolio of HMO products and monosaccharides, such as 2′ fucosyllactose, 3-fucosyllactose and lacto-N-tetraose.

In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Jennewein Biotechnologie a license to market 2′-fucosyllactose making it the first company to introduce the first biotechnologically produced human oligosaccharide into the infant feeding market in the US. This was followed in 2017 by EU authorization under the Novel Food Regulation.

The company is building one of the largest fermentation plants in Central Europe.

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