Any parent of a child with celiac disease knows how difficult it is to navigate the minefield of playdates, birthday parties, and simply going out to eat. Meanwhile, children with celiac disease are required to constantly advocate for themselves, justifying their need for safe food to the world when they just want to be like everyone else.
But now the future is looking brighter.
Ukko, a startup focused on eradicating food allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities, has reached a promising stage in its effort to develop a gluten specifically designed for people with celiac disease. Ukko’s gluten will enable home cooks, bakeries, and food companies to bake delicious, healthy bread, pasta and pizzas that everyone can eat. The Ukko team uses a combination of AI, immunology, and highly advanced protein engineering to create a new kind of gluten. Ukko is able to maintain all of the gluten’s good qualities like taste and nutritional value, while removing its “bad” qualities: those that trigger the immune response and damage in people with celiac disease.
“We’re seeing very promising results so far that suggest we’re on the right path to developing a gluten that is tailored for people with celiac disease,” said Anat Binur, CEO and Co-founder of Ukko.
Co-founder and Chairman Yanay Ofran agrees, “We’re living in an exciting time. Several revolutions in science and technology now converge to allow us to provide real solutions for people with allergies and intolerances in ways that were never possible before.”
The company’s next steps include human clinical trials. “These trials are designed to demonstrate the safety of Ukko’s gluten to celiac patients,” Ofran said. “But of course, showing that Ukko’s gluten is safe is not enough. We are also working to show that it is fully functional and that you can use it to make bread, pizza or other baked goods that are as fluffy and delicious as those made with regular gluten.”
The team is also continuously building out its patient outreach to ensure patients’ inputs, experiences, concerns, and questions shape the company’s processes from the onset. “There is an underestimated and often unspoken physical, emotional and social toll that is carried by people who have celiac disease,” said Binur. “We want this experience to inform Ukko’s journey and approach.”
To learn more about Ukko and to follow our journey, please visit our website.