Biotech firm receives helping hand from French govt. to develop skin lightening agents

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Remainder, Skin whitening, Cosmetics

Vancouver-based Sirona Biochem has announced that its French subsidiary TFChem has received a grant from the French government to help develop its skin lightening agents for the cosmetics market.

France's Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry granted the biotechnology company CDN $1.9m which Sirona explains will be used to advance the organization's depigmenting agent development project.

Sirona’s chemistry technology is used in many industry applications and the company see the grant as recognition for the work it is doing for the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry.

"These funds will allow our team to bring our depigmenting agent to a commercially-ready stage,"​ said Dr Howard Verrico, CEO of Sirona Biochem.

Assembled consortium

TFChem has assembled a consortium of partners dedicated to advancing the company's depigmenting agent; a potentially new safe and effective agent that can be used in a variety of creams and other cosmetic applications to lighten and evenly tone skin.

The consortium, which includes the University of Rouen, contract research organization Biogalenys and TFChem, will split the grant funding based on specific guidelines set out by the French government.

The funds will be distributed by the French government over the remainder of the project, which is expected to span three years.

Sirona Biochem explains that the development of these new agents is influenced by the global market for skin brighteners which is rapidly growing, with Japan leading demand for this cosmetic segment.

This year, sales of skin lightening products are estimated to reach $2 billion in the Asia Pacific region alone and experts estimate that the market will exceed $10 billion globally by 2015.

Skin lightening products are also a fast emerging market in North America and Europe where demand has been mainly driven by a desire to reverse sun damage, treat skin-related diseases such as vitiligo and to minimize the appearance of sun spots and freckles.

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