March 28, 2023

Founder Spotlight: Harmony

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Thriving not surviving 

Harmony addresses the lack of innovation in infant nutrition and the issue of cow’s milk allergy in infants. For the past 150 years, the infant nutrition space has been dominated by the same few companies, and their infant formulas have remained largely unchanged: dried cow’s milk adjusted to “make it work” for human infants. Given their consistent and sizable market share, as well as the industry’s high barriers to entry, these few companies have grown complacent, offering the same old formulas and seeing no need to innovate. While this was the best backup option to breast milk over a century ago, Harmony now has the technology to create something much better.

Up to 17% of babies suffer from an allergy to cow’s milk protein and require hypoallergenic formula (NIH). However, these formulas taste and smell terrible, so many babies refuse to even consume them. Additionally, they cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lack intact proteins, crucial for a baby’s digestive system development. 

Current infant formulas are designed to help an infant survive, but Harmony aims to create a sustainable solution that helps infants thrive. Parents can feel comfortable and confident giving this solution to their children.

Designed by nature 

Harmony’s formula uses biotechnology to create human breast milk components for their infant formula. The company provides the nutrition that nature designed specifically for human infants, entirely replacing the need for cow’s milk. 

And for nature 

Cow’s milk is currently the biggest contributor  to the carbon footprint of infant formula, accounting for 82% of formula’s total emissions (NIH). Harmony’s solution eliminates the emissions and land usage required for dairy cows and their feed, making infant formula more sustainable. 

The brain behind the business

Harmony is changing the game in the baby nutrition industry with an incredible team of the world’s leading experts in their fields. 

“We are able to attract top talent because they are inspired by what we are doing at Harmony and excited to be a part of it.” - Del Afonso

Brewing the human breast milk components

Harmony is utilizing precision fermentation, a technology that has been extensively used for over 30 years to produce pharmaceuticals and falls within the realm of recombinant proteins, to create their infant formula. They design microbes to express specific molecules during fermentation, similar to how yeast in sourdough bread produces acids when fed sugar, giving the bread its distinctive taste. However, in Harmony's case, the microbes are designed to produce breast milk proteins that are identical to their natural counterparts instead of acids. The filtered proteins then become the nutritional foundation of the formula, while the microbes continue producing more.

Recently crushed milestones 

Harmony has successfully expressed some of the most important and abundant breast milk proteins in their labs. These bioidentical proteins are indistinguishable from their counterparts in breast milk, including their chemical structure, function, and effect. 

Product launch

“We expect to release our first formula, which is 64% identical to breast milk - something a cow's milk basis could never dream of - in the next few years.” - Del Afonso


Del's inspiration for creating a better infant nutrition solution comes from his personal experiences and the challenges he has faced trying to feed his three children. He found that current infant nutrition options did not meet parents' expectations, leaving them feeling ashamed to give their children formula. Taking into account that breastfeeding is hard to keep up with, and the wide-ranging challenges parents face in trying to breastfeed (The New York Times), these experiences fueled his passion to provide a product that parents can feel comfortable and confident feeding to their babies. 

In terms of reading, he is currently engrossed in 'White Blood: A History of Human Milk,' which he highly recommends to anyone interested in learning more about infant nutrition.


Del's love for science is undeniable, and he is thrilled to see how his team is utilizing it to create innovative infant nutrition solutions. However, his true superpower lies in his ability to connect with people and families, a value that is deeply ingrained in Harmony's mission. Ultimately, their goal is to provide families with excellent nutrition options that offer confidence and peace of mind.