Breakthrough as Nuritas reveals bioactive ingredient delivered through AI

9 Nov 2018978 Views

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Dr Nora Khaldi and Dr Emmet Browne of Nuritas. Image: Kieran Hartnett

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Dr Nora Khaldi’s Dublin start-up and BASF are claiming a new breakthrough as a world first.

A breakthrough in significantly improving human health by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create a bioactive ingredient has been claimed by Nuritas, the Dublin-based data and life sciences start-up headed by Dr Nora Khaldi.

Scientists are now saying that this ingredient, which can be added to sports products such as energy drinks and nutrition bars, may improve post-exercise recovery by reducing inflammation. This is not only beneficial to those who frequent the gym, but for professional athletes who rely on their bodies for their livelihood.

‘Substances with therapeutic potential have existed within nature for hundreds of millions of years; however, humans haven’t been able to identify, access and harness the potential of those substances with the necessary speed and accuracy’
– DR NORA KHALDI

As a result of the breakthrough, biopharma giant BASF will bring to the market a new product called PeptAIde, which is a patented network of anti-inflammatory bioactive peptides discovered by Nuritas’s proprietary AI platform. The product is being launched commercially in the US with additional launches in Asia Pacific and Europe in 2019.

Peptides are molecules in plants that can be used as ingredients to improve health. However, these bioactive molecules are very hard to find and that is where AI kicks in.

Founded in 2014, Nuritas combines IT and life sciences expertise to mine DNA and protein data from plant materials in the hope of discovering new food components to help prevent, manage and possibly even cure disease.

PeptAIde comprises a unique peptide network unlocked from rice protein developed to alleviate inflammation, the body’s response to injury. Research demonstrates that the consumption of PeptAIde leads to anti-inflammatory responses by modulating cytokine responses and immune activity.

Close-up of peptides. Image: Nuritas

Used as a sports nutrition ingredient, PeptAIde has the potential to provide active individuals with anti-inflammatory physiological benefits after exercise.

“Substances with therapeutic potential have existed within nature for hundreds of millions of years; however, humans haven’t been able to identify, access and harness the potential of those substances with the necessary speed and accuracy,” Khaldi explained.

“Our team of scientists has made a revolutionary leap in human history by developing a proprietary artificial intelligence platform with the unique capability to make discoveries that would otherwise have taken humans dozens of years and cost tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars. Our natural anti-inflammatory, PeptAIde, is just the beginning. The capabilities of our AI technology to empower the human discovery of natural molecules to improve the health of billions of people holds limitless potential.”

Nuritas has found what it is looking for

Man in red scarf, woman in stripy dress, man in leather jacket and a man in blazer smiling at camera.

From left: U2 frontman Bono; Dr Nora Khaldi, founder and chief scientific officer of Nuritas; The Edge from U2; and Nuritas CEO Dr Emmet Browne. Image: Kieran Harnett.

Nuritas’s promise at changing the health of the world through molecules in plants has caught the attention of a slew of investors including Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff as well as Bono and The Edge from Irish rock band U2.

‘Harnessing the power of AI to significantly improve human health through new discovery is no longer a vision for the distant future’
– DR EMMET BROWNE

Last December, Siliconrepublic.com reported that Nuritas secured €16m in Series A funding led by Chicago-based Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, bringing its total investment at the time to approximately €25m.

Earlier this year, we also reported that Nuritas is working with food giant Nestlé to discover bioactive peptide networks within natural food sources. Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company, with a presence in 191 countries and 328,000 global employees.

In terms of the latest breakthrough, PeptAIde is the first product from a deep collaboration between Nuritas and BASF, which aims to discover and commercially develop food-derived, natural bioactive peptides for health benefit.

“Harnessing the power of AI to significantly improve human health through new discovery is no longer a vision for the distant future,” said Dr Emmet Browne, chief executive officer of Nuritas.

“Historically, AI has been associated with significant hype but has yet to lead to the discovery of a healthcare product. With the launch of PeptAIde, Nuritas has delivered on that promise for the first time in human history by demonstrating AI’s true potential to improve health. AI has enabled us to do what would be previously considered impossible, propelling us from first partnership contract to commercial launch of a healthcare product in under two years.

“We engage in truly collaborative partnerships in the preventative consumer healthcare and pharmaceutical spaces, and, to that end, we look forward to continuing the groundbreaking collaboration with BASF, a renowned global innovator in nutrition and chemistry.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com