Nuritas, a biotechnology company that is revolutionizing the discovery and use of bioactive peptides through artificial intelligence (AI) and genomics, announced the close of a $20 million Series A funding round led by Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.
This brings the total invested to date to approximately $30 million, including early funding from U2's Bono and The Edge, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Singapore-based VisVires New Protein and angel investor Ali Partovi. The latest round of funding will support Nuritas' growth in the United States (US) to address and solve many of the most pressing societal issues of the day, including the diabetes epidemic.
"Nuritas' unique platform delivers truly life-changing health benefits and we are very pleased to be involved in its growth – it's a brilliant team and such an exciting technology," said Nick Rosa, Managing Director of Cultivian Sandbox and Co-founder of Sandbox Industries. "We expect Nuritas to quickly emerge as one of the most innovative companies in the world, effecting real change."
Since launching in 2014, Nuritas has grown rapidly with its AI-powered peptide discovery platform, with applications spanning health and wellness, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and dermatology, amongst others, attracting high-profile investors and partners, including BASF SE.
"In an effort to expand our health solutions, we searched the globe trying to find such an innovative discovery technology and we eventually found it with Nuritas," said Michael De Marco, Global Head, Research & Development Human Nutrition and Pharma Solutions, BASF SE. "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."
Another area of strong and sustained focus for Nuritas is diabetes, which is a major societal issue. According to the International Diabetes Federation, an estimated 352 million individuals globally are living with pre-diabetes, which is considered an early warning sign for diabetes. An estimated 34 million pre-diabetics globally move on to develop full blown diabetes each year. In the US, 84.1 million individuals are estimated to have pre-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 Emmet Browne, CEO of Nuritas. "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."
Nuritas Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Nora Khaldi stated, "This investment will not only help us accelerate our route to market, explore new disease areas and grow our already strong team, but it will also push us even further in extracting the great potential of what our technology is capable of creating. What is so exciting is that the inflammation ingredient launching in the US next year is actually the first healthcare ingredient that has been fully discovered through the use of artificial intelligence."
Nuritas uses a proprietary AI and genomics platform to rapidly analyze the billions of molecules and peptides in food to predict and identify how they impact specific health areas, molecular pathways or receptors. When compared to traditional discovery methods, the Nuritas platform has been shown to identify peptides ten times faster and 500 times more accurately, while significantly reducing costs.