Ukko: funding to fight food allergies
$ 40 million led by Leaps by Bayer
Ukko, a biotech company with the mission to eliminate food allergies and sensitivities, today announced USD 40 million in new Series B funding. Ukko harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and protein engineering to develop healthier food and therapies for food allergies. The new funding will allow Ukko to enter clinical trials with its investigational therapeutic for peanut allergies. It will also accelerate development of Ukko’s gluten that is designed for people with celiac and other gluten sensitivities. The round was led by Leaps by Bayer, the impact investment arm of Bayer, and was joined by Continental Grain Company, Skyviews Life Science, PeakBridge Ventures, Fall Line Capital, as well as existing investors Khosla Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, and TIME Ventures, the investment fund of Marc Benioff.
Ukko’s novel approach uses a proprietary AI-powered platform that precisely engineers food proteins to eliminate their allergenicity, while keeping their good biochemical and nutritional characteristics. The platform uses patient samples, computational biology, immunology, and protein engineering to make proteins that do not trigger the immune system.
“We are at a unique crossroads in the history of science”, said Prof. Yanay Ofran, Chairman and Co-founder of Ukko. “Big data allows us to understand the underpinnings of food sensitivities. Computational tools allow us to precisely design the proteins that make up our bodies and our food. New genome editing technologies allow us to rewrite DNA to produce these new proteins in living cells. Ukko sits at the intersection of these breakthrough technologies, allowing us to redefine healthy food at the molecular level, based on real data”.
Ukko has already built one of the largest clinically validated molecular maps of food allergies, which unlocks critical data and allows the company a rich foundation for further innovation. Ukko has also generated promising data, based on patient samples, that suggests the company’s investigational peanut and gluten proteins do not trigger allergic reactions responses or intolerance responses in the immune system of patients. “One of the big challenges we’re addressing through our Leaps investments is attempting to reverse autoimmune diseases, which have enormous impacts on our health systems in every community around the globe. We are proud to lead this investment in Ukko and help solve the biggest allergies and food sensitivities. It is a great fit to our global leadership role in both health and nutrition”, claim from Bayer
EFA News - European Food Agency