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AI peptides start-up attracts €2.9m investment

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn+

26-Oct-2015
Last updated on 26-Oct-2015 at 17:53 GMT2015-10-26T17:53:45Z

'The day will come when we won’t remember how therapeutic discovery was done without DNA analysis and artificial intelligence,' says Silicon Valley investor
'The day will come when we won’t remember how therapeutic discovery was done without DNA analysis and artificial intelligence,' says Silicon Valley investor

Irish start-up Nuritas secures $3.2m (€2.9m) in international investment for its peptide-discovering platform.

The investment announced today came from Singapore-based New Protein Capital (NPC) and Silicon Valley investor Ali Partovi, who has invested in and advised the likes of Dropbox, Zappos and Facebook in the past.

Commenting on the investment, Ali Partovi said in a release: “The intersection of artificial intelligence and life sciences is an exciting frontier. The day will come when we won’t remember how therapeutic discovery used to be done without DNA analysis and artificial intelligence."

Nuritas uses machine learning or 'artificial intelligence' and DNA sequencing to find new particular molecules - peptides - in sources such as food.

It says its algorithm-based method of scanning databases could unlock currently wasted sources ten times quicker than the typical trial-and-error search process and cut costs for industry.

Previously the company said it was interested in working with rice and peas in particular, but the principle could be applied to almost any food production waste stream including dairy, meat and marine ingredients.

Earlier this year Nuritas told our sister publication NutraIngredients-US that in less than a year it had identified 20 novel peptides of interest in the area of health.

Nuritas has 21 globally patented grain by-product ingredients with purported properties around inflammation, muscle recovery, blood glucose regulation, skin ageing and the antimicrobial. 

It has listed the following health conditions and issues as top priority: inflammation, gastrointestinal health, diabetes, muscle recovery and growth, ageing, natural anti-microbials, anti-oxidation, cardiovascular health, satiety and joint health.

NPC founder Matthieu Vermersch said: “A ground-breaking technology, scalable solutions and the ability to use big data mining to identify new natural health-benefiting ingredients for food and other areas, perfectly fits in the ecosystem of companies NPC has invested and is looking at investing in in the future.” 

Wikifood

Back in 2013 the company’s founder, Dr Nora Khaldi, co-authored a review in the journal Trends in Food Science & Technology, calling for the establishment of a Wikipedia-like food database that could “greatly advance the capabilities of bioinformatics in food and nutritional research”.

The authors said a paradigm shift” was needed to fully harness the potential of the increasingly data-rich area of food research.

“Food and nutritional research, not unlike many other branches of life science, is fast becoming a very data rich discipline. As the move towards high throughput “omics” technologies perpetuates, the necessity of having appropriate means to curate and analyse such data volumes is paramount,” they wrote. 

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