Medtronic to buy Israeli nutrition data startup Nutrino Health

Deal is Irish med-tech firm’s third announced Israeli acquisition this year, after it bought Mazor Robotics in September for whopping $1.6 billion

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

The Nutrino app works as a virtual personal nutritionist; Metronic Plc said in November 2018 that it will acquire the Tel Aviv based startup Nutrino Health (YouTube screenshot)
The Nutrino app works as a virtual personal nutritionist; Metronic Plc said in November 2018 that it will acquire the Tel Aviv based startup Nutrino Health (YouTube screenshot)

Irish-US firm Medtronic Plc. which in September acquired Israeli medical robotics company Mazor Robotics Ltd. for $1.6 billion, is now acquiring Israel’s Nutrino Health Ltd., a maker of nutrition related data services, analytics, and technologies.

Financial terms of the deal were not released, but the Calcalist financial website estimated the deal at around $100 million, citing one person familiar with the matter.

Tel Aviv based Nutrino, founded in 2011 by Yaron Hadad, Jonathan Lipnik and Eduard Ros, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a virtual nutritionist, that can create a food plan specifically fit to users, based on their dietary needs, their medical profiles, health goals, preferences and lifestyles. The software and mobile apps created by the company also use the user’s location to recommend specific dishes at local restaurants, and suggest recipes for meals at home. The company has raised some $9.9 million to date, according to Start-Up Nation Central, which tracks the industry.

In 2015, Nutrino and IBM announced a new IBM Watson-powered app to provide nutrition recommendations for expectant mothers, while in 2016, the Israeli startup said it set up data partnership with Medtronic, launching a nutrition insights app for diabetics.

Medtronic’s acquisition will merge Nutrino’s “extensive food analysis infrastructure, nutrition science expertise and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven personalized insights with Medtronic’s technology and future innovations,” in a bid to help people effectively manage their diabetes, the two companies said in a statement on Wednesday.

Illustrative image of a diabetes patient measuring blood sugar levels (Maya23K, iStock by Getty Images)

Another arm of Medtronic is focused on providing new ways to manage diabetes.

“Medtronic will add Nutrino’s comprehensive food database, food analysis system and nutrition-science expertise to its capabilities, upon closing of the transaction,” the statement said. Nutrino has also been developing algorithms to predict glycemic responses to food.

“Bringing Nutrino and their nutrition-related expertise into our organization will give us a substantial differentiator in the diabetes industry and accelerate our progress to help people with diabetes live with greater freedom and better health,” said Hooman Hakami, executive vice president and president of the Diabetes Group at Medtronic. He added that their work together “will make a profound impact on the lives of people with diabetes.”

The acquisition is expected to close by January 25, 2019, subject to conditions.

“Our work in the diabetes space is helping to address the needs of a growing population that needs better tools and guidance,” said Yael Glassman, CEO of Nutrino Health. She said the firm will “now focus completely on the intersection of nutrition and diabetes to help more people be able to better manage their condition.”

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Medtronic, among the world’s largest medical technology companies, with more than 86,000 workers worldwide, has been on the prowl for Israeli firms. In October it acquired Mazor, a maker of surgical robots, and earlier this year, in April, it acquired VisionSense Ltd., a Petach Tikva based firm that brings natural stereoscopic sight to minimally invasive surgery.

Medtronic acquired Netanya based Ventor Technologies Ltd., a maker of transcatheter heart valve technologies for the treatment of aortic valve disease, in 2009 for $325 million.

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