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Nuritas Raises $20m Series A for AI Ingredient Discovery Platform

December 20, 2017

Nuritas, an Irish biotech startup has raised a $20 million Series A round led by agtech VC Cultivian Sandbox.

Nuritas has developed a database of molecules — namely peptides — found in food that have health benefits and sells ingredients containing these peptides to food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and supplement companies. The company has built an algorithm to help identify these peptides at speed and is using machine learning to develop the process further, veering into the world of artificial intelligence. This new funding will go toward expansion in the US market.

Also announced with this funding round is a partnership with agrochemical giant BASF’s human nutrition and pharmaceutical subset.

“The most immediate fruits of our collaboration will be the US launch of an anti-inflammatory for sports nutrition in 2018. This is only the beginning, our collaboration is progressing and on track to yield more groundbreaking products in the future,” said Michael De Marco, global head of research and development human nutrition and pharma Solutions at BASF SE.

BASF’s human nutrition department focuses on dietary supplements, functional nutrition, medical nutrition and infant nutrition, according to the company’s website.

Nuritas CEO  Emmet Browne said that diabetes will also be an area of focus. This round comes after the company was awarded a $3.28 million grant from the European Union to develop a natural ingredient that can help thwart diabetes.

“Bioactive peptides are known to play a role in managing diabetes and many other areas, but the current methods of identifying those that may work is time-consuming, inefficient and expensive,” said Browne in a statement. “Our artificial intelligence platform has already disrupted this antiquated process by targeting, predicting and unlocking peptides that can positively impact conditions like pre-diabetes while reducing the cost and time needed to find them. We’re excited to have Cultivian Sandbox and others join our mission to unlock these huge capabilities to improve human and animal health.”

Brown said that this ingredient launching next year will be the first on the market discovered using artificial intelligence. 

Nuritas raised $3.4 million in seed funding in 2015 from U2’s Bono and The Edge, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Singaporean food and ag private investment firm New Protein Capital, Enterprise Ireland, and including one of agtech’s earliest angel investors Ali Partovi.

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