Johnson & Johnson Hosts 'Shark-Tank'-Like Competition and Crowned This Biotech Startup as Its Winner

Published: Apr 20, 2017

Johnson & Johnson Hosts 'Shark-Tank'-Like Competition and Crowned This Biotech Startup as Its Winner April 19, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

LONDON – Irish biotech startup Nuritas snagged $5,400, business mentoring and a possible business deal from Johnson & Johnson in a “Shark Tank”-like competition at the In-Cosmetics show in England earlier this month

Nuritas, which was founded in 2014, and nine other companies made three-minute pitches in front of about 70 people, including Johnson & Johnson. The Irish company pitched its ability to use bioactive peptides to benefit personal care products, dietary supplements and pharmaceutical products, Chemical and Engineering News reported earlier this month. According to Nuritas, its proprietary platform combines artificial intelligence and genomics from natural sources, such as everyday foods, to unlock the peptides.

The In-Cosmetics competition was aimed at identifying innovative companies that have the potential to become key players in the industry.

Neal Foster, head of strategic partnerships at Nuritas, said in a video on the company website that the company is able to discover peptides on demand. He said the company’s technology allows them to deliver patent-protected peptides to consumer product manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson.

“They know what the consumers want, what the trends are and what the trends are going to be and we can discover for them a unique natural peptide with patent protection just for them,” he said in the one-minute video.

Following being declared the winner of the competition, Foster said the company is looking forward to having more contact with Johnson & Johnson and is looking forward to what kind of projects the two companies may begin working on.

Of the declaration of Nuritas’ victory, Foster said J&J was impressed with the speed of the company’s discovery and Johnson & Johnson wants to “put us to the test.” He said the company will be delighted to see if they live up to the expectations.

This was Nuritas’ first go at improving cosmetic products, Foster said. With this victory under their belt and a budding relationship with global powerhouse Johnson & Johnson, chances are it won’t be the last time the company delves into cosmetics.

This is the second big win for Nuritas this year. In Dr. Nora Khaldi, founder and chief scientific officer at Nuritas, was nabbed the “Woman of the Decade in Business and Leadership Award” at the Women Economic Forum–EU event. Khaldi was awarded for her ability to translate groundbreaking scientific research into one of the most innovative companies in the world as well as her leadership qualities, according to a statement issued by Nuritas in January.

Other companies vying for the J&J award included Cambridge-based Biolabs, the maker of a skin diagnostics app; Taiwan-based Corum, a company that makes ingredients for skin spot reduction; and Sibelius, a spinout of Oxford University that developed a screening method to discover cosmetic and nutritional active ingredients, Chemical and Engineering News reported. John Bell, external innovation R&D vice president for J&J, told C&N News that in addition to Nuritas, the company expects to continue talking with “six or seven” of the companies that participated in the competition.

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