PROLACTA BIOSCIENCE® APPOINTS DR. VICTORIA NIKLAS AS CHIEF MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC OFFICER
– New Executive Leadership Role Underscores Company’s Commitment to Advancing the Science of Human Milk –
JAN. 13, 2016 – Prolacta Bioscience® – the pioneer in human milk-based neonatal nutritional products, announced today that renowned neonatologist Victoria Niklas, M.D. will join the Company’s executive leadership team as Chief Medical and Scientific Officer.
Dr. Niklas has nearly three decades of experience as a clinical investigator and neonatologist integrating basic and translational science in diseases afflicting newborns. She comes to Prolacta after serving as Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Newborn Services at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
“We are honored to have such a prestigious expert lead the research and development of our life-saving neonatal nutritional products,” commented Scott Elster, President and CEO of Prolacta Bioscience. “Dr. Niklas has dedicated her career to infant health and we’re confident that her knowledge and leadership will enable Prolacta to continue breaking barriers in advancing the science of human milk.”
Throughout her career, Dr. Niklas has been a leader in research on human milk and its impact on protecting newborns from life-threatening diseases, underscoring her commitment to the healing power of breast milk. Her appointment elevates Prolacta’s authority in the field of human milk science and points to the tremendous growth the company has recently experienced as a result of the increased use of an exclusive human milk diet as the standard of care in neonatal intensive care units nationwide.
“Prolacta truly represents leadership in the field of human milk-based nutrition and I’m excited to expand on the Company’s already robust science, and initiate new research geared toward unveiling the full potential of human milk in the neonatal intensive care unit and beyond,” commented Dr. Niklas.
Multiple scientific studies support the health benefits of an exclusive human milk diet for premature infants in the NICU, as opposed to cow milk-based formula or nutritional supplements. A report published in 2014 in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine found an increase in the likelihood of developing necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), NEC requiring surgery, sepsis, or death, as the amount of cow milk-based protein fed to the infants in the control group increased.i NEC is one of the leading causes of mortality among preterm babies. When used as part of an exclusive human milk diet, Prolacta’s Neonatal Nutritional Products are clinically provenii,iii to improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare system costsiv for critically ill, extremely premature infants in the NICU weighing between 500 and 1,250 grams at birth, as compared to cow milk-based nutrition or formula.
Dr. Niklas earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and a master’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Harvard University. She completed her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and a fellowship in perinatal and neonatal medicine at UCLA. Dr. Niklas has more than 25 years of experience as a clinician investigator and neonatologist integrating basic and translational science in diseases afflicting the newborn. Her career has focused on understanding the immune system in the susceptibility of the newborn to infection and inflammation in the body’s largest mucosal surface, the intestine. She is a recognized expert in mouse models of intestinal immune T cell development and the pathogenesis of intestinal inflammation, in diseases such as necrotizing enterocolitis, a life-threatening intestinal disease of primarily premature infants.
About Prolacta Bioscience
Prolacta Bioscience, Inc. is a privately-held life sciences company dedicated to Advancing the Science of Human Milk®. The company pioneered the development of human milk-based Neonatal Nutritional Products to meet the needs of critically ill, premature infants in the NICU. Prolacta leads the industry in the quality and safety of nutritional products made from breast milk and operates the first and only pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing facility for the processing of human breast milk. For more information please visit www.prolacta.com.
[i] Abrams S, et al., “Greater Mortality and Morbidity in Extremely Preterm Infants Fed a Diet Containing Cow Milk Protein Products.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2014;9(6):281-285
[ii] Sullivan S, et al., “An Exclusive Human Milk-Based Diet is Associated with a Lower Rate of Necrotizing Enterocolitis than a Diet of Human Milk and Bovine Milk-Based Products.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2010;156(4):562-567
[iii] Cristofalo E, et al., “Randomized Trial of Exclusive Human Milk versus Preterm Formula Diets in Extremely Premature Infants.” Journal of Pediatrics. 2013;163(6):1592-1595
[iv] Ganapathy V, et al., “Costs of Necrotizing Enterocolitis and Cost Effectiveness of Exclusively Human Milk-Based Products in Feeding Extremely Premature Infants.” Breastfeeding Medicine. 2012;7(1):29-37