Brightseed Receives Grant to Discover Plant-Based Bioactives That Can Improve Birth Outcomes and Reduce Global Reliance on Antibiotics For Maternal and Infant Health

SAN FRANCISCO (November 3, 2021) — Biosciences company Brightseed, creator of Forager® artificial intelligence (A.I.) that maps the health impact of plant-based bioactives, today announced an initial $200k grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation toward improving maternal health and improved birth outcomes through insights generated by Forager.

According to the World Health Organization, undernutrition is one of the greatest global health challenges and is responsible for approximately 45% of deaths among children under five¹. As part of a global public health intervention to reduce undernutrition, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports the development of balanced energy protein (BEP) food supplements as it is currently recommended by WHO to pregnant women in countries with high undernutrition burden.²

Forager’s goal is to illuminate the molecular underpinnings of the bioactives contained in the existing BEP products so the nutritional community can have a better understanding of all compounds that may contribute to better maternal and child outcomes. With deeper visibility enabled by Forager, it will be possible to further optimize the BEP product contents and maximize its efficacy for maternal and infant health. The project also includes identifying potent plant compounds that can mimic the important benefits of azithromycin without some of the negative side effects of antibiotics, the wide use of which may contribute to the global health problem of antibiotic resistance.

Sofia Elizondo, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Brightseed said, “We’re honored to receive grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to address such an important global health issue for maternal health and infant health. With Forager, we have the ability to look to nature to access affordable and scalable solutions that were never previously possible.”

Forager is an AI-driven discovery platform that is generating the world’s largest digital map of the interaction of plant-based bioactives with human biological systems, highlighting more than 10,000 potential solutions for proactive and therapeutic health. Through machine learning and -omics analyses, Brightseed predicts and validates which distinct bioactive compounds from specific plants can hold the largest impact to fundamental biological processes that drive human health.

“This is an exciting application of Forager’s molecular visibility. We are approaching this problem with the biological mechanisms happening in the gut as our first point of entry,” said Lee Chae, co-founder, Chief Technology Officer and creator of Forager. “We’ll soon have an expansive outlook on what bioactives are creating these cascading effects, and how we can improve their functioning between mothers and newborns to result in positive health outcomes.”

The goal of Brightseed’s work on this project is to illustrate the phytochemical composition of BEP products and identify plant based bioactive compounds with potential to impact maternal and infant health. Brightseed is committed to providing global access to these discoveries so the global nutritional communities, mothers and babies can benefit. Results of this project are expected in the first half of 2022.


Brightseed enables a healthier future by illuminating and activating the biological connections between plants and people. Brightseed’s Forager® is the first and only artificial intelligence to map the world’s plant bioactives and understand which of them have the greatest impact on human health. Discoveries undergo clinical evaluation, regulatory review, and commercial development to deliver powerful, yet natural solutions. Interested organizations can contact Brightseed by reaching out to

Serene Buckley

¹ WHO Fact sheets – Malnutrition
² 2016 WHO ANC guideline