Nuritas, a Dublin start-up that uses data mining of molecules in food and food byproducts to identify supplements and new drugs, has raised $20 million (€16.8 million) in Series A funding in a round led by Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.
This brings the total invested to date to approximately $30 million (€25 million), including early funding from U2's Bono and The Edge, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff, Singapore-based VisVires New Protein and angel investor Ali Partovi.
The company said it intends to use the latest round of funding to grow in the US.
Nuritas uses big data techniques to discover peptides – molecules in food and food byproducts – that can be used by the life sciences sector in supplements and new drugs. It says it can find these peptides 10 times faster and 500 times more accurately while significantly reducing costs.
Nuritas has already developed and patented health-improving ingredients that can address global challenges as broad as inflammation, diabetes, ageing and MRSA, among others.
The company was founded by Trinity-trained mathematician and bioinformatics specialist Nora Khaldi in 2014 and subsequently spun out of NovaUCD's Venture Launch Accelerator Programme.
Route to market
“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,” said Ms Khaldi.
“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,” she added.
A key area of strong and sustained focus for Nuritas is diabetes with an estimated 352 million individuals globally believed to be living with pre-diabetes which is considered an early warning sign for the disease.
“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, chief executive of Nuritas.
“Our artificial intelligence platform has already disrupted this antiquated process by targeting, predicting and unlocking peptides that can positively impact in conditions like pre-diabetes while reducing the cost and time needed to find them,” he added.