Israeli startup Nutrinia raises $30M to improve baby digestion

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Israeli company Nutrinia, which has developed a special form of insulin for feeding premature infants and children following a shortening of the intestine, announced on Thursday that it had completed another (Series D) financing round, in which it raised $30 million. The current round was led by the TPG Biotech fund, with participation from the WuXi Healthcare Ventures and H.I.G. BioHealth Partners funds, as well as from existing investors, including Pontifax Venture Capital and Orbimed. Nutrinia will use the money it raised to finance two key clinical trials of its product in the U.S. and Europe.

A special substitute for formula

Nutrinia has developed a substitute for infant formula for babies based on insulin, a hormone recognized as being responsible for regulating glucose in the body and which diabetes patients widely use. At the same time, not many people are aware that insulin is also present in small concentrations in mother’s milk, and its role in the early digestive system development stages is critical.

The special insulin developed by the company enables the intestine to absorb food and consequently assists proper development in an infant. The function of the insulin-based drug is to improve the digestive process among infants and increase the pace at which they gain weight – an extremely important question, especially for premature babies. Nutrinia’s product also has great potential in the prevention of chronic diseases, such as Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, various allergies, and obesity. The Israeli company’s product remains durable at different temperatures and can be easily dissolved into any formula, or into mother’s milk.

Up until now, clinical trials on animals and humans have proven that the product is safe and effective. Founded in 2003 by Dr. Naim Shehadeh, Nutrinia, a portfolio company of the NGT fund from Nazareth, has raised over $40 million since it was founded.

Commenting on the financing round, Nutrinia CEO Miki Olshansky said, “I’m happy to welcome TPG Biotech, H.I.G. BioHealth Partners and WuXi Healthcare Ventures into Nutrinia at this exciting time for the company. We are beginning two trials in the U.S. and Europe that will provide robust data as to the safety and efficacy of our proprietary oral formulation of insulin, and if successful, provide a direct path to registration.”     

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