SAN FRANCISCO — Brightseed, a biotechnology startup, has raised $68 million in Series B funding led by Temasek, with participation from new and existing investors.
Founded in 2017, Brightseed uses an artificial intelligence discovery platform to analyze millions of bioactive compounds in nature and map their potential applications. The company has partnered with food and beverage formulators, including Danone, Ocean Spray and Olam Food Ingredients, to gain a deeper understanding of plant supply chains and health benefits to inform future product development.
“Nature holds an incredibly rich and largely uncharted source of powerful, natural bioactives that create health benefits in humans, and we’re now able to access and integrate them into products for food and health industries,” said Jim Flatt, PhD, co-founder and chief executive officer of Brightseed. “Discovering and mapping natural bioactives to human health benefits was just the first step for Brightseed. Now, we’re launching clinically-studied ingredients and insights to illuminate the hidden potential in nature to restore human health.”
Brightseed’s platform, Forager, has mapped more than 2 million plant compounds to date, with dozens in various stages of validation for metabolic health, digestive health, cognitive health, sugar management, maternal health and immunity.
The new funding will accelerate natural compound discovery and clinical validation and support the launch of the company’s first ingredient from a new commercialization center in North Carolina. Brightseed’s first discovery, two bioactive compounds found in upcycled hemp hulls, will debut later this year as a whole food ingredient promoting digestive health. The ingredient was deemed generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Consumers are increasingly looking for natural and accessible solutions to restore their health, but industry has been severely limited by a lack of tools and technologies to look more deeply into nature’s potential to do that,” said Sofia Elizondo, co-founder and chief operating officer. “Brightseed is building the opportunity space for health innovation rooted in nature and delivering a clear path forward for clinical validation. We are eager to make our bioactives readily accessible for food and health industries as we move from lab to shelf and embrace consumers along the journey of bioactive discovery.”