Nuritas flexes finance-building might in €40m funding to boost peptide offerings

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Nuritas’ founder and current CEO Dr Nora Khaldi. ©Nora Khaldi/Nuritas
Nuritas’ founder and current CEO Dr Nora Khaldi. ©Nora Khaldi/Nuritas

Related tags: Nuritas, Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, peptides

Nuritas has raised €40m ($45m) in the Irish biotech firm’s latest round of funding intended to finance global expansion efforts and potential new additions to its portfolio of plant-based bioactive peptides.

The Series B funding round, which counts the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), amongst key investors, brings the total finance raised to date at €66.5m ($75m).

Other investors taking part include Chicago-based Cleveland Avenue, LLC, Grosvenor’s Wheatsheaf Group, Vertex Holdings, Nutresa Ventures/ Veronorte and CJ.

“We will be focusing on establishing our HQ in the USA to service our customers better and build out our awareness in the market,”​ comments Nuritas’ founder and current CEO Dr. Nora Khaldi.

“The USA is a big market in need of more healthy and more sustainable solutions derived from plants and natural food sources.

“Moreover, we believe the entrepreneurial mindset and broad talent base in science and Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning will be invaluable to growth.”

Pepti products

In addition to business development, Nuritas is also preparing to launch new ingredients to compliment its current range of food-derived active peptides, PeptiStrong, PeptiYouth and PeptiForce.

PeptiStrong is a plant-based (fava beans) peptide mix, said to improve the body’s ability to create and maintain muscle making it useful in sport nutrition and healthy ageing.

Also focused on healthy ageing is PeptiYouth,  a blend of novel peptides discovered in pea that is said to improve cellular regeneration, increasing cellular matrix reconstruction and reducing inflammation.

PeptiForce contains four targeted peptides that claim to improve the body’s ability to metabolise sugar and thus optimise glucose metabolism.

“These are ingredients used in products expected to be available from the start of next year,”​ says Dr Khaldi.

“We have a strong development and innovation pipeline covering fundamental consumer health needs and discoveries that will help make our food system more sustainable by removing unwanted additives or ingredients. We look forward to telling you more next year.”

Boards boost

In addition to new funding, Nuritas’ Board of Directors also welcomes Randall Lewis, Managing Director of Cleveland Avenue, LLC and Stephan Dolezalek, Executive Director of Grosvenor’s Wheatsheaf Group.

“Wheatsheaf is an investor seeking ways to improve the sustainability, safety, and health of our food,”​ says Stefan Dolezalek.

“Applying technologies like artificial intelligence to examine food and its co-products at the molecular level, working with nature, and being mindful of the implications of such technology is a critical new approach.

“Nuritas is leading the charge on this novel approach to creating functional foods, with applicable scientific and commercial progress executed by a world-class team.”

Nuritas’ focus on the business has also seen its Advisory Board grow in numbers to now include Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsico and board member at Amazon.

Also, on board is Joerg Ohle who led the commercialisation of Bayer’s Global Consumer Health division, and Bruce German, Professor and Chemist of food science and technology at the University of California, Davis.

Working with BASF, Nuritas introduced PeptAide 4,  the world’s first AI-discovered ingredient in rice back in 2018​.

The collaboration, formed in January 2017, not only hinted at the impact AI technology could have on product research but also the speed at which the firm’s data-driven approach could accelerate development cycles.

“With our approach, we are making ingredient discovery 10x faster and 500 times more accurate, and much more cost-efficient,”​ adds Dr Khaldi.

“We can define benefits or technical needs upfront and develop accordingly, resulting in a precision solution.”

Sumitomo alliance

The collaboration provided a springboard to further partnerships with Sumitomo Chemical in a multi-year agreement​ that addressed food growth in the face of a rapidly growing global population.

Announced in April this year, the deal saw Nuritas deploy its platform to predict, unlock, and validate efficacious plant-based peptides.

As part of the deal, Tokyo-based Sumitomo carried out field tests to validate these new discoveries with a view to commercialising the resulting products in Japan and worldwide.

“Nuritas is led by a talented team and its AI-powered, peptide discovery platform Nπϕ is a novel and proprietary platform technology that offers unprecedented value to the future of our health and our planet,”​ Lewis says of the latest funding round.

”Cleveland Avenue is pleased to be a part of the company’s ongoing growth and we anticipate Nuritas will become a global ingredient powerhouse and a partner of choice for companies around the world.” 

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