The Ferment Company of New York was formed in New York City sometime prior to 1906 for the purpose of manufacturing and distributing a patent medicine based on the theories of the biologist Elie Metchnikoff of the Pasteur Institute. Between 1903 and 1906, Metchnikoff had developed and promulgated his thoughts on the prolongation of life through proper hygiene and diet, with paticular attention to the bacteria present in the lower digestive tract. He believed that the introduction of lactic-acid bacilli, as in yogurt, would prevent intestinal putrefaction and prolong life.
A Paris company, La Société Le Ferment, was formed to market a commercial soured-milk product in line with Metchnikoff's theories. The product, marketed under the name Bacillac, was a kind of yogurt powder that could be taken as a food supplement, in tablets, or mixed with water to form soured milk "bouillon." The company stressed Metchnikoff's endorsement and displayed his name prominently on its letterhead.
The Ferment Company of New York was the creation of petty entrepreneurs and was a partial successor to an earlier firm, the Lacto-Bacilline Company of Maine. The latter had apparently hoped to utilize a formula developed by a Dr. Justin de Lisle of New York, who fraudulently claimed to have studied under Metchnikoff. Eventually, the Ferment Company secured the U.S. rights to the French product from La Société Le Ferment. The product was sold through a subsidiary, the Franco-American Ferment Company. The business was not particularly successful, and the company eventually tried to transfer the distribution rights to the Borden Condensed Milk Company in order to give their product wider exposure.
From the description of Minute book, 1907-1916. (Hagley Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122396930