Venture Capital: Brightseed Raises $68M For AI-Researched Health-Benefiting Compounds
The company has raised its Series B round at an estimated valuation of $300 million.
San Francisco based Brightseed has raised $68 million in a Series B round led by Singapore sovereign fund Temasek with participation by existing investors Lewis & Clark AgriFood, Seed 2 Growth (now S2G) Ventures, CGC Ventures, Germin8 and AgFunder. Brightseed uses an AI platform dubbed ‘Forager’ to identify the hidden compounds in plants that can impact our health beneficially. The funding brings up the total money raised by Brightseed to $120 million. (Forbes)
Brightseed discovers fat busting ingredients
In March, the startup announced its discovery of two health-benefiting compounds in hemp hull, which is the outer shell of the hemp seed.
The compounds, N-trans-caffeoyltyramine (NCT) and N-trans-feruloyltyramine (NFT), showed a remarkable ability to clear fat from the livers of mice and in human cells. These plant bioactives, now in human clinical trials, could potentially shed light on how to control human obesity, and also the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease – a chronic condition that has no approved treatments and afflicts up to 25% of the global population.
Brightseed’s Forager previously discovered NFT and NCT in black pepper.
NFT and NCT are also known as bioactives – health-activating, small molecule compounds plants use to communicate with their environment.
Though science has long been aware that plant bioactives are critical to human health, over 99% remain unknown. These represent the “dark matter” of the plant kingdom according to Brightseed, and its AI-powered Forager is discovering other bioactives in nature and linking them with their impact on human health.
This effort could cover as many as 60,000 edible plant species for revealing their bioactives. The company already has developed about 2 million compounds, and plans to extract 10 million by 2025.
Brightseed was founded by Lee Chae, a Stanford-educated plant biologist, and co-founders Jim Flatt and Sofia Elizondo, in 2017.
The startup already has partnerships going with Danone, Pharmavite, OFI and Ocean Spray for the discovery of new compounds for their product lines.
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