Nestle Invests $43 Million in Maker of Disease-Battling Proteins

  • CEO of Health Science unit Behar also joins startup's board
  • Pronutria targets diseases caused by amino acid imbalances

Nestle SA, the world’s biggest food company, invested $43 million in Pronutria Biosciences, a U.S. developer of proteins that target neurological, muscle and liver diseases, its latest investment in a health startup.
Pronutria has a product in clinical testing to treat muscle-wasting diseases caused by imbalances in amino acids, Nestle said Tuesday in a statement. Greg Behar, chief executive officer of the Swiss firm’s Health Science unit, will join the board of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup.
The U.S. company is engaged in “paradigm-changing science” to address unmet medical needs, Behar said in the statement.

Nestle wants to eventually build a 10 billion-franc ($10 billion) business out of its health science unit, created in 2011 to try to make food-related products to fight chronic diseases. Last year, the KitKat maker bought a stake in Seres Health Inc., a Cambridge-based developer of drugs that aim to improve the effectiveness of microorganisms in the human body.

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