New Protein Capital leads $3.2m raise for Irish biotech company

The start-up is using AI, data science and DNA sequencing to create food ingredients with health benefits.

New Protein Capital, a Singapore food and agtech investment firm, has led a $3.2 million financing round for an Irish biotech startup, Nuritas. The company is touting it as the largest initial round for an Irish biotech company.

Nuritas uses artificial intelligence and DNA sequencing to identify and isolate molecules in food with potential health benefits, called peptides. The company has patented a number of food ingredients it says have benefits including anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-aging and blood sugar management properties. According to a press release, Nuritas sees potential uses for its peptides in functional and medical foods, pharmaceuticals, dietary supplements and cosmetics.

The company received the Top Innovation award at the Forbes “Reinventing America Summit” in July of this year.

“A groundbreaking technology, scalable solutions and the ability to use big data mining to identify new natural health-benefiting ingredients for food and other areas, perfectly fits in the ecosystem of companies NPC has invested and is looking at investing in in the future,” said New Protein’s founder, Matthieu Vermersch, in a statement.

New Protein Capital focuses on science and tech innovations that address global food challenges in developed and emerging economies.

Ali Partovi, who has served as an investor and strategic advisor to Dropbox, Zappos and Facebook, also participated in the raise, according to the release.

“The intersection of artificial intelligence and life sciences is an exciting frontier,” the Silicon Valley investor is quoted as saying.

Functional and medical foods are a fast-growing segment of the food and beverage industry. A report by Visiongain, released in April 2015, estimates a total value for the sector of more than $240 billion this year.