• Nora Khaldi is the founder and CEO of Nuritas, a biotech company using proprietary AI technology to discover and develop plant-based bioactive peptides.
• Khaldi explained that Nuritas’ approach to innovation is its focus on “learning the language of life.”
• This article is part of Innovation Leaders, a series examining how business leaders view their role in driving tech innovation.
Nuritas is a biotech company using proprietary AI technology to discover and develop plant-based bioactive peptides. Nuritas has amassed the world’s largest peptide library with more than 5.2 million discovered and works with companies including Nestle, Mars, Sumitomo Corporation, Metagenics, Pharmavite, and more. Founder and CEO Nora Khaldi was named Woman of the Decade by the Women Economic Forum and inducted into World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and sits on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Governing Board. In a recent interview with Insider, Khaldi explained how she approaches innovative thinking to drive the company beyond expectations and meet new challenges:
What is the biggest business challenge you’re facing at the moment and how are you tackling it?
We just announced that we are expanding to the US and building our new headquarters in Connecticut, near Yale University. Nuritas was founded in Ireland, so not only are we breaking new ground in a new country, we are coordinating a transatlantic move. I will also be relocating to oversee the expansion.
Nuritas is the innovation partner for many US companies with a mission to help them develop greener and safer products that bring natural efficacy to a new level, and we partner with leading food and pharma companies including Nestle, Mars, Sumitomo Corporation, Pharmavite, and Zero Day Nutrition. These and many more of our existing operational partners are located in the US, which factored into our decision to locate there.
This further expansion will only help us in our collaborations while also allowing us to tap into the kind of talent we need to continue our growth, commercialization, and expansion.
What products do you have in the pipeline?
We’ve developed a sustainable, plant-based solution that can maintain muscle function for longer. It not only adds to the building blocks of muscle, but it can also repair the muscle—something the current, animal-based standard of care cannot do as well. Our plant-based solution is more efficacious, helping to make muscles younger and healthier. This is important across all aspects of life – from faster recovery after exercise for athletes, to maintaining lean muscle and strength during menopause.
We are also working to bring a peptide we’ve discovered to market which can improve glucose metabolism and reduce signs of pre-diabetes. This is critically important, as diabetes is one of the biggest epidemics in the world, with more than 420 million patients globally.
What tech systems are you prioritizing in your budget plans?
Our primary technology platform is the Nπϕ™ (Nuritas Peptide Finder). By leveraging AI, it can identify and develop new bioactive compounds within months rather than years, expediting the discovery process and surpassing traditional methods while significantly reducing costs.
Our technology unlocks the language of nature, rapidly and efficiently targeting, predicting and revealing bioactive ingredients hidden within plants and natural food sources. These discoveries provide our partners with groundbreaking opportunities to treat and prevent existing and emerging diseases and meet the challenges of a changing world. We’ve been developing and refining this proprietary technology platform since 2014, discovering nearly 5.2m peptides, participating in 12 human trials and 15 scientific publications, collaborating with some of the largest global food and science companies and creating and launching three proprietary ingredients.
Our state-of-the-art lab testing facility pioneered the Peptidomic Method Development, and we now offer the largest natural library of peptides in the world. With 50,000 peptides tested every week, Nuritas delivers 63% biological accuracy, 80% bioavailability accuracy, and 92% cell penetration accuracy, solving for many of the previously perceived problems associated with peptide use. As we continue our expansion, we continue to prioritize further optimization and development of Nπϕ. We anticipate that our new headquarters will also continue our tradition of pioneering new technologies and methods for peptide discovery.
Who do you partner with internally and externally to drive business and tech decisions?
Internally, we’ve built a team of 50+ innovators with 860 years of cumulative research experience between them. Together, we decide which of our massive library of peptides is worth developing further and commercialising, as well as where to direct our resources and research.
Externally, we’ve been working with Yale Ventures and AdvanceCT as we build our US headquarters. They are helping us choose the final location for our new headquarters, and will also help us recruit the best talent across medicine, science, and engineering. They are both connected in the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Connecticut and have a pulse on all things in that space.
How excited are you about the technology of the future and what it means for your business and your sector?
Technology is everywhere, but its success and failure will depend on its full integration and capability to perform a helpful task. When it comes to nutrition and food, very little integration has been achieved to date. Today’s technologies — and the developments in AI and ML – can help us see nature differently and bring molecular food science to new heights. The products AI is helping us create have so many potential applications, and that is what makes what we do so exciting and inspiring. We have learned how to speak the language of life, finding unique peptides that are hidden and embedded within proteins and helping the human body to use them more efficiently.