Nestlé and Nuritas announce collaboration on artificial intelligence based discovery of food-derived bioactive peptides.

By Tim Cutcliffe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dr. Nora Khaldi (Founder and CSO) and Emmet Browne (CEO), Nuritas.  Picture credit: Kieran Harnett
Dr. Nora Khaldi (Founder and CSO) and Emmet Browne (CEO), Nuritas. Picture credit: Kieran Harnett

Related tags: Artificial intelligence, Nestle

The Swiss food and beverage giant and the Dublin-based biotech company are to work together on discovering bioactive peptide networks in target high-value areas.

The collaboration will make use of Nuritas’ innovative technology platform, which uses DNA analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) to predict, unlock and validate bioactive peptide compounds from food sources.

Nestlé will further develop and validate the efficacy of the new discoveries within the target application areas.

 “At Nuritas our mission is to positively impact billions of lives worldwide and we therefore are delighted to be collaborating with Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage company on such an important project. We are really looking forward to beginning this impactful journey together,”​ said Nora Khaldi, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Nuritas.

“The fruition of our collaboration carries the promise to be truly industry-changing,”​ added Emmet Browne CEO at Nuritas, formerly of Nestlé. “We are very excited to partner with Nestlé as they look to continue their own admirable purpose to help shape a better and healthier world.”

Hinting at the depth of impact the partnership would have on the industry, Browne told NutraIngredients, “The power and accuracy of the Nuritas approach is so, that it makes sense to apply it to the areas of greatest consumer need or industries toughest problems. In our collaboration with Nestlé we are looking to do just that”.

The collaboration is also a good fit for Nestlé’s objectives.

“As our understanding of food and nutrition continues to grow, our global research and development network is looking ahead to discover how we can help enhance quality of life and contribute to a healthier future for everyone. Research partnerships such as that with Nuritas help us achieve that goal​,” commented Richard Stadler at the Nestlé Research Centre.

Rapid growth

Nuritas’ new tie-up with Nestlé comes on the back of another collaboration with German giant BASF announced in early 2017 and a successful round of funding later in the year. Nuritas is in the process of rapidly growing the workforce and scaling up the business to take advantage of the expansion opportunities that its internationally recognised, award-winning platform appears to provide.

Additional collaborations are likely to be revealed in the future which will continue to drive this expansion, suggested Browne.

“We are incredibly proud of all our partnerships to date, both those that are publicly disclosed and those that are not yet. We aim to partner with the world’s most innovative and far-reaching leaders in health and nutrition, a description that is perfectly embodied by both Nestlé and BASF.

“In addition to the obvious validation that both these agreements provide, working in partnership with such great companies also affords us tremendous opportunities to learn from the best,” ​he added.

 AI – the future?

The use of AI, together with DNA analysis, in the discovery of new bioactive compounds has the potential to revolutionise the speed of product development.

“The traditional approach to finding new active molecules is close to random, it’s like searching the ocean for a treasure chest without a map. It usually takes years and millions,” ​Khaldi said. “What the Nuritas technology does is create a map​.”

Despite the impressive science underlying AI-based bioactive molecule discovery, the bottom-line was still the commercial end product, emphasised Browne.

“We are very much a commercial business not an academic institution. For us a project is not a success until an ingredient that works in the end application exists.

“Our data-driven approach powered by machine learning enables us to progress through the development cycle at incredibly fast rates at all stages from in vitro to as far as scaling of ingredient production,” ​ he concluded.

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