Nuritas lands €30m backing from European Investment Bank

30 Nov 2018364 Views

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Nuritas founder and chief scientific officer Dr Nora Khaldi with EIB vice-president Andrew McDowell. Image: Kieran Hartnett

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Dr Nora Khaldi’s data and life sciences start-up Nuritas continues to break new ground.

Nuritas, the Dublin-based start-up backed by U2’s Bono and The Edge as well as Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, has become the first Irish biotech to gain direct support from the European Investment Bank (EIB) with a new funding round worth €30m.

The funding will be used to further increase and accelerate the development of artificial intelligence and DNA analysis to improve global healthcare.

‘Our goal is to find innovative and fast-growing companies so that we ensure they can benefit from access to long-term financing under the new initiative and Nuritas fits this bill perfectly’
– ANDREW MCDOWELL

“It is a hugely meaningful mark of confidence and support for Nuritas, as such a small percentage of applicants pass the extensive diligence criteria for a facility of this substance,” said Greg Stafford, Nuritas CFO.

Food from thought

Founded in 2014 by mathematician and bioinformatician Dr Nora Khaldi, 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.

In particular, the company focuses on using AI to discover hard-to-find bioactive molecules called peptides which can be found in plants and can be used as ingredients to improve health.

Last month, Siliconrepublic.com reported of a breakthrough that Nuritas made with biopharma giant BASF to develop a new product called PeptAIde, an ingredient that when added to sports products such as energy drinks and nutrition bars may improve post-exercise recovery by reducing inflammation. Earlier this year, we also reported that Nuritas is working with food giant Nestlé to discover bioactive peptide networks within natural food sources.

Nuritas’s promise has attracted the support of a slew of investors including Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff as well as Bono and The Edge from Irish rock band U2. 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.

The new support from EIB will allow the company to access tranched financing as required to scale up the development of the rapidly growing company. Future investment by the company backed by the EIB will scale up development of new therapeutics in areas of interest including anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and diabetes treatment.

“Nuritas has already demonstrated through PeptAIde, their first product launch this year, how the discovery of healthcare products can be rapidly accelerated using artificial intelligence,” explained Andrew McDowell, European Investment Bank vice-president. “During due diligence over recent months, the EIB has been impressed by their innovative use of technology and the number of global deals already achieved, and they now become the first Irish biotech firm to benefit from the EIB’s dedicated European Growth Finance Facility.

“Our goal is to find innovative and fast-growing companies so that we ensure they can benefit from access to long-term financing under the new initiative and Nuritas fits this bill perfectly. We look forward to working with other innovative and fast-growing companies to ensure they can benefit from access to long-term financing under the new initiative. This new €30m support from the European Investment Bank will enable Nuritas to expand and commercialise even faster.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com