BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre and Nuritas Join Forces to Investigate Oral Bioavailability

Image of representative peptides. (Image source: Nuritas)

BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre and Nuritas Join Forces to Investigate Oral Bioavailability

The BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre and Nuritas today announced that they have joined forces to investigate the question of oral bioavailability in naturally occurring molecules, called peptides, from food or food by-products.

The public-private research partnership, led by Professor David Brayden, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, a senior scientist at BEACON, and Dr Nora Khaldi, CSO and Founder of Nuritas, has the potential to be a game changer for the biopharma industry and patients alike.

The BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre is hosted by University College Dublin.

Nuritas uses its artificial intelligence (AI) platform to identify natural peptides from food or food by-products. Peptides are the major signalling molecules in humans and as such have numerous health benefitting functions such as anti-inflammation, anti-microbial and blood glucose regulation.

To get the most of these bioactive molecules, they must last longer in the body, after swallowing and passing through the intestine and liver, in order to reach the blood stream intact.

Professor Brayden, a world leading expert in drug delivery and oral bioavailability, will be using established and innovative techniques to create oral dosage forms of natural peptides discovered by Nuritas.

To find out more about this partnership watch this short video

Professor David Brayden said, “To be able to take food-derived natural peptides and create an oral delivery system with pharmaceutical applications will be a major advance for both the biopharma industry and patients. This is a holy grail of the industry and something they have been working to develop for decades.

He added, “Such advances have the potential to reduce industry production costs. Patients would also have the convenience of being able to take tablets or capsules, thereby reducing hospital visits, which is likely to improve treatment compliance and outcomes. We would also be advancing the development of our bioeconomy by using food-derived natural peptides.”

Dr Nora Khaldi said, “Although very efficacious, many peptides have low oral bioavailability, so identifying new ways to improve their delivery to the blood stream will allow diseases reliant on injectables, such as diabetes, to be treated with drugs in tablet or capsule form. This in a way helps us to disrupt beyond the discovery of peptides into improved delivery of efficacious oral peptides.”

She added, “We will be doing this through computationally understanding the structural, physical and chemical requirements of bioavailable peptides. This can change the way drugs are discovered as we want our AI system to integrate bioavailability at the very start of the prediction, reducing the risk of failure during later drug development phases.”

BEACON is working to revolutionise the bioeconomy by addressing national and global societal challenges. The centre does this through strategic research developed in collaboration with industry.

“This project is a perfect example of using advanced technology to generate bio-based products of enhanced societal and economic value from our natural resources, which is the core focus of the centre’s work’, said Professor Kevin O’Connor, UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science and Director, BEACON.

“By bringing together Nuritas’ AI technology and Professor Brayden’s oral peptide delivery expertise, this project could have a major global impact on drug development”, concluded Dr Khladi.


12 February 2019

For further media information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, e:, t: +353 1 716 3712 or Dr Erin O’Rourke, Public Engagement and Communications Manager, BEACON Bioeconomy SFI Research Centre, e: