Announcing Our Investment in Ukko’s Series B and an Allergy-Free World
By: Scott Brady
The human body has always been a mystery: the more we know, the more we find there is to know. Fortunately, advances in biotech — as we’ve seen with the recent COVID-19 vaccine news — are happening faster than ever before, transforming how we understand, treat, and encourage health in the human body.
Today, Ukko — a biotech leader and Innovation Endeavors portfolio company on the vanguard of such advances — has announced its Series B raise. From Series A to now, we are incredibly proud to once again support this remarkable company in its mission to develop healthier food and therapeutic solutions for food allergies and sensitivities. We’re equally proud of its co-founders — Anat Binur, CEO (and former investment partner at Innovation Endeavors), and Yanay Ofran, Chairman — in steering Ukko so confidently on its excellent course.
With this funding, Ukko will move into an exciting new phase: entering clinical trials for its investigational food allergy immunotherapy, targeting peanuts, and launching new gluten-based foods, specifically designed for people with celiac and other gluten sensitivities, into the market.
This has important implications for human health. At best, food allergies are disruptive; at worst, they’re deadly. They require an enormous amount of personal effort and familial vigilance to manage effectively and they nearly always come with substantial economic costs. In fact, one study put the estimated cost of “any food allergy” at $24.8B annually. Every three minutes, a food allergy reaction lands someone in the emergency room. And allergies are on the rise: the number of children diagnosed with a peanut allergy, for example, has tripled in the past two decades.
Ukko’s novel approach — reengineering food and therapies at the component level — provides real hope for allergy sufferers. The team is capably connecting the dots of the Super Evolution — the convergence of compute power, big data, edge engineering, and advances in biological processes and research — to power measurable progress. With the intelligent deployment of interdisciplinary edge technologies, from AI to protein engineering to big data to computational biology, the Ukko platform is eliminating the proteins in food that trigger an allergic response while maintaining their nutritional benefits.
It’s an incredible application of technologies that, alone, would not deliver such immense human value. But deployed together, they’re the very definition of the sum being greater than its parts. Big data opens the door to understanding why people have food sensitivities at the biological level. Computational biology makes it possible to design new proteins with precision. Genome editing ensures these proteins can be made through DNA editing.
That same platform is also fueling the development of Ukko’s immunotherapy treatment, designed to cure allergies without the risk of triggering an allergic reaction from the treatment itself, making it safer and less stressful for patients. Through leveraging those same advances in Super Evolution technologies, Ukko has already built one of the largest clinically-validated molecular maps of food allergies, putting critical data at the fingertips of the team and serving as the springboard for new innovations.
As a result, the world is moving closer to food that’s available, accessible, and healthy for all — and people are one step closer to enjoying the freedom of allergy-free lives.