• LEAP™ combines state-of-the-art AI and bioinformatics. 
Source: PIPA
    LEAP™ combines state-of-the-art AI and bioinformatics. Source: PIPA

Mars has joined forces with artificial intelligence (AI) company PIPA in a multi-year agreement aimed at accelerating its work in the plant-based ingredient sector.

Mars Innovation, Science and Technology vice president Nici Bush said PIPA was an important and valuable research collaborator for Mars.

“Their science and technology strengths will translate into business impact, opening doors for Mars and the wider food industry,” said Bush.

The multi-year agreement will use PIPA’s AI platform LEAP and bioinformatics to integrate biomedical databases, scientific publications, clinical trial, and omics datasets, to find associations among molecular and food-related entities with microbes and diseases.

This process can then help predict connections to accelerate NPD in foods, beverages, and dietary supplements.

Mars Advanced Research Institute (MARI) vice president Dr Abigail Stevenson said PIPA's capabilities were accelerating the development of MARI initiatives to help spark new discoveries.

“We're excited to work with them to explore new opportunities that can enhance nutrition and benefit health,” Stevenson said.

PIPA and MARI will roll out LEAP to science, technology and innovation teams at Mars over the next two years.

PIPA vice president of Product George Nikolaou said: “By joining forces with Mars, we are placing AI at the centre of food, nutrition, and health. We are bringing to fruition new methods for science discovery that mean business teams empowered by AI can unlock novel, high-quality insights faster and more cost-effectively than previously imagined.”

PIPA founder and director of the USDA AI Institute of Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS) at University of California Dr Ilias Tagkopoulos said the next decade would bring a paradigm shift in the way we understand food, its effect to our health and well-being.

“The trifecta of mapping the molecular atlas of food, leveraging state-of-the-art computational methods that learn from data, and nurturing a vibrant ecosystem that translates discoveries to practice, creates the perfect storm for an unprecedented disruption and brings us one step closer to the Hippocratic “let food be thy medicine”, Tagkopoulos said.

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