Pre-diabetes and fatty liver disease peptides announced to target increased healthspan.
Nuritas, a Dublin-based company focusing on the discovery of novel peptides previously raised $65m and will shortly be raising a Series B. The company’s notable investors include U2’s Bono together with early Facebook and Dropbox investors Ali Partovi and The Edge. The developer of natural peptides for targeted therapeutic use aims to create the next generation of scientific products focusing on disease prevention.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids, which are naturally occurring molecules; these protein fragments can be derived from many sources, including plants and animals, as well as all types of foods, marine or other; Nuritas works on data mining all these sources for novel active peptides. Peptides are the major signalling molecule in our bodies and thus play a significant role in human health by positively affecting many internal biological systems such as the cardiovascular and immune systems.
Nuritas’ Founder and CSO, Dr Nora Khaldi, is joining a panel of distinguished speakers in the Metabesity 2019 conference today, to discuss the company’s latest developments and emerging companies in the Longevity field.
Nora sat down with Longevity.Technology to discuss the upcoming conference and how her company works in the Longevity field.
Longevity.Technology: Will there be any breaking news you’ll be speaking about at the Metabesity conference?
Nora Khaldi: We believe that treatment and prevention should work hand in hand and as such we have focused on developing both strands, therapeutics and separately natural preventative actives with true science in the form of dietary supplements, functional or medical foods. We have two items of news, one in the disease prevention arena and the other in therapeutics. We have developed a peptide in the consumer arena that improves glucose regulation over time. The goal is to go after the massive pre-diabetes market.
There is not much you can do now if you’re pre-diabetic, there is no real solution or aid to help prevent you moving from pre-diabetes into full blown diabetes – so, we developed a network of peptides with the support of a very large European grant.
Once completed this will be available in multiple forms such as a drink or a cereal bar that a consumer will consume once a day. This is a significant milestone for us, we are going into further human clinical trials next year to finalise the best dosage regime.
One of the areas we went after in the therapeutics side of Nuritas is NASH [non-alcoholic steatohepatitis], as there is a huge global medical need for an effective solution. We have in a short time discovered a peptide presenting some incredible results in pre-clinical. The results are very interesting because the peptide is targeting more than one biological mechanism, for example anti-inflammation, immunomodulatory, hemostasis, as well as being an anti-angiogenic. The mode of action of the peptide is different to other molecules in clinical, which makes this even more exciting.
We are only getting started, there are an infinite number of peptides and as a human race we have only explored the tip of the iceberg of peptide structures. If you look at pharma, there have only been approximately 60 novel peptides which have spawned repeated modifications and alterations but all working from the same 30-40 backbone structures.
The association of peptides to poor stability, half-life and bioavailability is only a result of the very few peptides that pharma has actually explored. This is why using our machine learning technology allows us to explore the infinite space of peptides and find ones that are not only efficacious, but are stable, safe, have a good half-life and are bioavailable. In a nutshell making peptides the go-to for any therapeutic development or for any preventative natural active-ingredient.
Longevity.Technology: What are the Longevity-specific therapies that your company is developing?
Nora Khaldi: I think everything we do is connected and geared towards longevity. It’s all about staying healthier for longer and we are working directly on that in a lot of areas. We work on muscle dystrophy and atrophy, a phenomenon that we are all going through. We are all losing muscle as we age, and this has a tremendous impact on our health in general and our mobility. There is a medical need for it and there’s absolutely nothing out there. When I talk about NASH [non-alcoholic steatohepatitis] and pre-diabetes, all these are aspects of aging.
“…aging is not a one-target approach it is multi-factorial phenomenon. You have to go after multiple mechanisms…”
Longevity.Technology: How do bioactive peptides affect healthspan and Longevity?
Nora Khaldi: Aging is not a one-target approach, it is multi-factorial phenomenon. You have to go after multiple mechanisms at the same time. One factor of aging for example is metabolism, as we age the metabolism of our cells slows down. Another factor is inflammation – as we age, this also increases. Similarly, we see slowing down of Mitochondrial biogenesis. So, the real question is how do we simultaneously shift these factors to a healthier state. This is why we are looking at peptides and peptides networks that will target those important dysregulated factors and others simultaneously to reduce overall aging.
“In terms of longevity, I think everything is connected… It’s all about staying healthier for longer.”
Longevity.Technology: Do you have any products on the market yet?
Nora Khaldi: The one that’s on the market is an anti-inflammatory which was launched last year – the first AI discovered healthcare product in the consumer arena, PeptAIde is a post-exercise anti-inflammatory ingredient which contains a unique set of plant-based peptides that specifically help modulate inflammation. Our global partner on it is BASF. The next one is for skin anti-aging with the pre-diabetes coming next.
Longevity.Technology: Are you pursuing further funding rounds?
Nora Khaldi: We will be going for Series B funding next year. The funds are being used for the clinical trials taking products to market and scaling a business which has already gained many iconic corporations as customers. Our business model from the beginning has been to partner with large multinational companies, we’ve partnered with the likes of BASF, Nestlé and Pharmavite. It’s an approach to use what we’re good at and what they’re good at; we are good at inventing and taking the peptides to a certain point and they are good at commercialising them and bringing global reach. We are moving into a separate business model creating joint ventures where we partner with complimentary partners to maximise both shareholder value and speed to market.
Longevity.Technology: We see that members of U2 are on your list of high-profile investors – do they take an active interest?
Nora Khaldi: Bono and Edge have both been incredible in terms of their support, they are really interested in health and what we are doing globally, they are the quintessential “smart investor” and we look forward to mirroring their global impact in our chosen sphere of improving the lives of billions of people worldwide.
Longevity.Technology: Nuritas targets many different targets of aging and diseases through the use of novel peptides using AI. Deep learning and artificial intelligence are the latest trend in the Longevity field that is propelling Nuritas into discovering more peptides, that could be used as targeted therapies. Going into a new series B funding round the company is taking promising steps in preventive medicine and targeting age-related diseases. With more products expected to hit the market soon, Nuritas is one to watch.