Milis Bio is a food biotechnology company based in Cork, Ireland and founded in 2016 . Milis Bio is developing flavored proteins that deliver flavors like sweet and umami that can serve as healthy alternatives to sugar, sugar substitutes and Monosodium Glutamate .
Milis Bio CEO Michael Sheehan was awarded Best Young Entrepreneur by his city of Cork . Sheehan got the idea to develop sweet proteins while studying neuroscience at University College Cork (UCC) and co-founded the company with UCC Principal Investigator Dr. Paul Young . The brain perceives taste due to binding of molecules to taste receptors. Proteins that register as sweet to taste budstaste buds are naturally found in a few tropical plants . Milis Bio is engineering proteins to bind to taste receptors using a technique called directed evolution . In directed evolution, variations are introduced into the genetic sequence that codes for the protein of interest and the experimenter selects proteins with certain characteristics, like ability to bind to sweet taste receptors . Sheehan describes his method of selecting their proteins as a “tongue in a petri dish” in his talk at RebelBio’s demo day (2016) .