“Nuritas is addressing the world’s growing healthcare needs through bioactive peptide discovery, fuelled by its proprietary AI platform that operates with industry-leading speed and accuracy.”
Nuritas CEO, Emmet Browne
- Nuritas is harnessing the power of AI to discover peptide-based therapies for global unmet medical needs with unprecendented speed and success rates.
- One of the company’s products is currently undergoing human clinical trials to test its ability to prevent the onset of diabetes.
- Founded by Dr. Nora Khaldi, the company has attracted numerous multinational partners including BASF and Nestlé.
Case Study: Nuritas
Nuritas, a company supported by Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Ups (HPSU) unit, harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to mine the data within food sources to identify and unlock bioactive peptides with the potential to prevent and treat disease. The company’s proprietary AI-based drug discovery platform operates with industry-leading speed and accuracy to address the world’s growing healthcare needs.
Traditional drug discovery (within the pharmaceutical or consumer health industries) is becoming ever more costly with the chances of success decreasing yearly. Alternatively, Nuritas begins its process by identifying a target condition that currently lacks safe and effective treatment options. Nuritas works best in a truly collaborative partnership with companies that have a clearly identified medical need and a need to rapidly accelerate the identification of a novel treatment or preventative action.
CEO Emmet Browne explains, “Our platform is rooted in three key steps: target, predict and unlock. We start by targeting an unmet medical need, often identifying conditions that may currently be deemed undruggable. Our proprietary AI platform intelligently mines the dormant peptides that exist in safe, plant-based food sources. These possess extraordinary potential to elicit a positive clinical effect on the targeted condition. Our in-house wet lab then unlocks the peptides from the source protein and fully characterises the activity profile of the peptide to validate its activity. This data is fed back into the AI platform, making it smarter and continually improving the already unparalleled accuracy and success rate of our peptide discovery platform.”
Stopping disease in its tracks
One of the company’s most exciting developments is the discovery of a peptide for the prevention of diabetes. The peptide has the potential to maintain blood sugar levels and prevent the onset of the condition. The drug-candidate is currently undergoing clinical trials to evaluate safety and efficacy in pre-diabetes.
CFO Greg Stafford said, “Diabetes is a massive global epidemic, with more than 400 million people suffering from the condition. We have the potential to make an extraordinary impact on the incidence of diabetes as Nuritas has identified and unlocked bioactive peptides with the potential to prevent this condition. We are honoured to have received a multimillion euro Horizon 2020 grant from the European Commission to support the development and commercialization of the product.”
Nora Khaldi, Ph.D. is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Nuritas. Dr. Khaldi founded the company in 2014, with a vision to apply her background in mathematics, computational biology, microbiology and bioinformatics to help solve some of the greatest challenges in human health. Since launching in 2014, Nuritas has grown rapidly and received multiple awards including the Innovation Award at the Forbes Reinventing America Summit in 2015, recognising the global impact that Nuritas’s technology will have on the future of food and health. In 2017, Dr. Khaldi was named Woman of the Decade in Business and Leadership at the Women Economic Forum (WEF) European Union Event and received the Rising Star prize from the Tech Excellence Awards.
At the core of Nuritas’s objectives is engagement in truly collaborative partnerships. The company combines the strength of a partner’s disease space expertise with Nuritas’s strength in peptide discovery, leading to phenomenal success in the development of effective therapies. Among the company’s ongoing partnerships are BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, and Nestlé, the world’s largest player in the food and beverage industry.
“We provide meaningful value to the organisations we work with due to the nature of our approach. We are able to identify and develop bioactive peptides for any target or indication based on the needs of our partners in the pharmaceutical, consumer healthcare and linked industries. The companies we partner with have global reach, possessing the ability to get our products to the consumers and patients who need them most across the globe.” said Browne.
Invaluable guidance from Enterprise Ireland
Enterprise Ireland supported Nuritas in its Seed and Series A funding rounds. Browne said, “Enterprise Ireland’s investment was not just limited to their financial support. The organisation cares about our business and is committed to the advancement of our technologies. Since Enterprise Ireland’s involvement, they have been part of our progress as our AI-based peptide discovery platform now operates with a 66%+ success rate and is continuing to improve.”
Mr. Stafford said, “We are delighted to have the support of a globally respected organisation. Enterprise Ireland’s involvement is a testament to the promise of our AI-based discovery platform and the organisation’s involvement has been instrumental as we advance our technology.”
The company has just opened an office in Cambridge in the UK and has plans to open one in an East Coast US location in the coming months. Browne commented, “There are key centres for us around the world where we are already deeply active. These would include the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific, specifically Japan and China. We look forward to continued and accelerated growth as we expand our reach around the globe.”
Reaching globally from Ireland
Nuritas currently has a wet lab in UCD and an office near Pearse Station in Dublin city centre; but, the company is combining the two in a new facility on Dawson St. Browne said, “Combining our lab and offices into a single facility in the heart of Dublin is a very deliberate decision. The synergy of our AI platform and in-house wet lab is what makes Nuritas’s approach to drug discovery unique. Being able to join the multidisciplinary teams in the same physical space will only add to the success and accomplishments of our highly talented scientists. In addition, with space for 150 employees, we now have the space to grow our team. A space in the city center will allow for a workplace that is as vibrant and stimulating as the Nuritas team.”
Stafford added, “Companies such as Nuritas are a testament to an environment that provides for growth and innovation. Ireland at present is a hub for companies with ground-breaking technologies, and we intend to remain proudly rooted in Ireland as we emerge as a serious contributor on a global level in discovering life-changing solutions for the world’s growing healthcare needs.”
Learn more about Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation supports here.