Elena Medo is the CEO of Medolac Laboratories, a public benefit corporation which she co-founded with Adrianne Weir. Medo has dedicated her career to improving outcomes for preterm infants by using technology to increase access to lifesaving human milk.
Medolac offers the first ready to feed, sterile, shelf stable human milk that can be shipped and stored at room temperature. Medo has raised over $35M for her last three life science startups, using disruptive innovation to achieve the goal of feeding the world’s 15 million preterm infants born each year.
She holds numerous patents and her contributions to the space prior to Medolac include the development of the double breast pumping system, the first online milk bank, the first customized formulation of human milk to treat preterm infants and the first midrange IR human milk analyzer.
Her innovative collaboration with co-founder and daughter, Adrianne Weir led to a massive redesign of the milk banking business model, including the founding of the Mother’s Milk Cooperative enabling healthy nursing mothers to transact the sale of surplus milk in a safe and secure environment. The mission of the Company is to make human milk available to all babies in need, regardless of their economic status.
Medo has an MBA from the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine where she also studied Computer Science and Developmental and Cell Biology as an Undergraduate.
Adrianne co-founded Medolac in 2009 with her serial entrepreneur mother, Elena Medo, after she spent more than a decade in healthcare. Having previously developed a national network of human milk banks, Adrianne has strong market instincts with a focus on innovations that have a global market reach. She is driven to improve access and expand use of lifesaving human milk products. This mother-daughter duo are the innovation leaders for neonatal nutrition, and the global human milk market. Medolac has developed a pipeline of innovative human milk based products to serve a potential $1B domestic market.
Adrianne’s leadership has helped defined Medolac as a company of firsts:
• The only female led commercial milk bank in the world
• First application of high volume food processing and economies of scale to human milk
• The only shelf-stable (non-frozen) human milk products
Medolac has made it possible to deliver human milk anywhere – from the hospital NICU to home, to critical humanitarian needs. Adrianne’s contributions continue to disrupt this space with exciting innovations around purified components for nutritional, therapeutic and research applications. Her leadership and innovation has created significant advances for Medolac and its mission to deliver lifesaving human milk to infants around the world.
Donald H. ChaceCHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
Donald H. Chace, PhD, MSFS, FACB is the Chief Scientific Officer for Medolac. He is one of the primary developers of newborn metabolic screening using tandem mass spectrometry. Dr. Chace is an expert in metabolism and clinical chemistry using mass spectrometry and dried blood spot analysis. Millions of newborns are screened annually for inherited genetic disease using his patented methods.
He has published nearly 100 peer reviewed articles and has presented at numerous conferences on a range of subjects including, neonatology, clinical chemistry, newborn screening, mass spectrometry and forensic science. He is currently working on validating the benefits of human breast milk in improving the growth of premature infants. In addition, he is developing both analytical and bioinformatic tools to aid the neonatologist in delivering more personalized, nutritional care to the premature infant. Dr. Chace received his BS in chemistry from Boston College. His graduate degrees include a Masters in Science in Forensic Science with specialty in Forensic Toxicology and a PhD in Pharmacology. Both degrees earned from The George Washington University in Washington DC.
Veronique Demers-Mathieu, Ph.D.Senior Research Scientist in Microbiology and Immunology
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Food Sciences
Postdoctoral Scholar, Oregon State University, Neonatology and Nutritional Immunology, OR, USA
Ph.D. Food Microbiology, Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada/Laval University, Quebec, CA
M.S. Food Sciences, Biochemistry, INAF/Laval University, Quebec, CA
B.S. Food Sciences, Chemistry, Laval University, Quebec, CA
Veronique works as Senior Research Scientist at Medolac Laboratories and is doing her Postdoctoral Fellow in Sela’s Lab. Her research focuses on immune components (antibodies, immune cells and lactoferrins) from human milk that can influence the infant gut microbiome and immunity. She loves surfing, hiking, climbing, snowboarding and traveling around the world.
Shawn FelsSVP QUALITY, OPERATIONS, AND INNOVATION
With extensive experience as a food and dairy scientist, Shawn is in charge of safety, quality and product innovation at Medolac. He is responsible for the creation and optimization of quality systems which set the standard for safety in the industry. His other key role is to develop innovative products to provide precision nutrition for pre-term infants. Shawn also works with experts in academia to enable fast-paced application of new donor milk products.
Prior to Medolac, Shawn worked at Tillamook County Creamery Association in a number of positions but most recently as a leader in research, development and product innovation.
David A. Sela Ph.D. SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
David joined Medolac’s scientific advisory board in 2018. His life’s work is to enhance infant nutrition and health through translational scientific research. David leads a lab group that studies bioactive molecules in human milk (www.selalab.org). Specifically, how human milk promotes beneficial microbes inside the infant gut microbiome. David contributed seminal research on human milk oligosaccharides and his group currently studies these and other milk molecules.
David supports human milk and lactation research through leadership within several scientific communities. He has chaired the Maternal, Perinatal, and Pediatric Research Interest Section of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). Subsequently, David established a new group at ASN focused Nutritional Microbiology to advance microbiome, probiotic/prebiotic, and fermented foods research. He serves on the executive committee of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation and has organized various scientific conferences on human milk. David sits on editorial boards for several scientific journals focused on nutrition or microbiology.
David earned a doctorate at University of California Davis followed by postdoctoral fellowships at Stanford School of Medicine and the UCD Foods for Health Institute. Currently, David is a faculty member in the Dept. of Food Science at University of Massachusetts Amherst and the UMass Medical School.
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”