Nuritas secures €3m in EU funding to halt spread of diabetes

28 Oct 2016

Person using glucometer. Image: urbans/Shutterstock

As one of Ireland’s biggest biotech success stories, Nuritas has now been awarded €3m in EU Horizon 2020 funding to commercialise a peptide that could potentially offer a new weapon in the fight against type 2 diabetes.

Founded by Dr Nora Khaldi, a recent speaker at Inspirefest 2016, Nuritas uses AI, machine learning and DNA analysis to rapidly predict, and then provide access to, potentially beneficial components hidden within food called peptides.

In doing so, the results could lead to the discovery of new food components to help prevent, manage and even cure deadly diseases.

In its latest development, Nuritas has revealed that it has identified and scientifically validated a peptide that could represent a major breakthrough in tackling the prevention of type 2 diabetes.

There has never before been a proven treatment for this condition, and Nuritas will now be given €3m in EU Horizon 2020 funding to support the final stage of its research and commercialisation.

This will include a series of Irish-based clinical trials being rolled out over the next 18 months.

Pending regulatory approval, Nuritas will have its new peptide integrated into functional food products and available on the market as early as 2020.

Obesity in some parts of the world is reaching dangerous levels, resulting in greater numbers of type 2 diabetes cases.

According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes has now been declared an epidemic affecting 422m people globally, with 90pc of these having the type 2 variant.

Diseases cured by data and AI

Speaking of what this means for Nuritas, Khaldi said: “I have always believed data powered by AI could prevent and cure all diseases. This EU grant, for just one of our many peptides, delights me as it validates the reason for establishing Nuritas.

“It will also allow us to accelerate the delivery of this peptide to a world that is in great need of a pre-diabetes solution. Because diabetes is usually irreversible, prevention strategies are now recognised as the realistic hope for epidemic control into the future.”

Khaldi and Nuritas’ efforts have not gone unnoticed internationally either, with news coming last May that the company received €2m in funding from none other than Salesforce founder Marc Benioff.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic