How biotechnology has impacted the cosmetics business in 2016

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

How biotechnology has impacted the cosmetics business in 2016

Related tags: Cosmetics

Biotechnology continues to play an ever-increasingly important role in cosmetics formulation. Here we take a look at some of the most significant developments in this field during the past year.

In recent years the development of biotechnology has helped bring about evermore efficient and effective means of producing and replicating a host of raw materials that play an important part in cosmetic formulation.

Biotechnology brings to the table the crucial bioactive ingredients, typically yeast- or algae-derived, through sophisticated biofermentation processes that give way to materials with important active properties to cosmetic formulations.

These advances are helping to produce cheaper and more effective cosmetics, while, in some case, helping to reduce the impact that sourcing some raw materials has on the environment.

During the course of 2016 a number of biotechnology players have expanded their manufacturing footprint in a bid to keep up with demand, while there has also been significant M&A activity in the field, reflecting the fact that the technology behind it makes for a good return on investments.

Gingko Bioworks expands manufacturing footprint

One of the biggest biotech players servers the cosmetics field is Gingko Bioworks, and in October of this year, the company announced the opening of a massive new production facility​ designed to keep abreast of huge demand.

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the Bioworks 2 foundry covers 18,000 square meters and is a modern, state of the art facility that increases the company’s existing production capacity by six times.

But the expansion plans do not end there as the company aims to increase its production facilities to approximately 80,000 square meters by 2018 – ambitious plans that reflect the huge demand and impact that the technology is having on the cosmetics industry, as well as a number of other fields.

GreenTech expands footprint into Brazil

Further evidence that biotechnology is emerging as a global phenomenon came last month when French biotech player GreenTech announced it was buying Brazilian business Maprec​.

GreenTech, which specializes in biotech ingredients derived from plants, has been expanding its presence in the global market of late and this latest acquisition underscores its ambitions to be a dominant global player.

The acquisition is highly strategic because it not only strengthens the company’s foothold in one of the largest consumer markets in the world, it also taps into Maprec’s specialization in cosmetics actives.

Mibelle establishes US headquarters

Further evidence of the race to expand biotech businesses on a global basis came at the beginning of the year, when Swiss company Mibelle announced the opening of its US subsidiary​.

The company rose to prominence with its apple stem cell derived ingredient, and in the past years has expanded its biotech ingredient portfolio significantly.

Mibelle chose to locate its US headquarters in White Plains, New York, a strategic move that taps into a region that is the country’s main hub for the production of cosmetic and personal care ingredients.

Amyris highlights biotech support capabilities

Renewable products player Amyris also made an interesting move to highlight its biotechnology capabilities​ when it announced a dedicated program to support researchers and business wanting to move forward with bio-synthesis without having to invest in establishing the complex manufacturing processes.

The program involves interested parties engaging with Amyris experts in an effort to determine exactly what their requirements are in the field of biotechnology and how best to take it to the product formulation stage.

Indeed, historically Amyris has provided support to some of the biggest cosmetic ingredients players in the business, including Firmenich, IFF and Givaudan. 

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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