The agreement, according to Laurent Attal, L’Oréal’s executive vice-president of research & innovation, opens up “a very promising field in high-tech cosmetics,” and builds on the organisation’s efforts to understand the skin microbiome.
“We expect this partnership to be ground-breaking,” adds Micreos CEO Mark Offerhaus. “L’Oréal has been a leader in skincare for decades. Micreos is at the forefront of targeted bacterial biotechnology. We pair our strengths and millions stand to benefit”.
At the centre of this new agreement is Micreos’ phage and endolysin technology that uses phages to kill bacteria.
Phages use bacteria as a host to reproduce and in order for new phages to be 'released' from their bacterial host cells, endolysin enzymes are assembled to open the bacterial cell wall, killing the bacterial cell in the process.
This step is critical in the reproduction cycle of phages, which target the areas of bacterial cell wall that do not mutate and thus prevent bacterial resistance against endolysins.
Thus, L'Oréal may be able to use the endolysin and phage technology to target (selective) control of bacteria such as staphylococcus bacteria, which cause or aggravate skin conditions including eczema, acne and rosacea.
Phages can also be used to control other bacterial pathogens, such as Pseudomonas, Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter amongst others.
L’Oréal’s activities in the skin microbiome space include a scientific partnership with microbial genomics firm uBiome, in which the two firms will look into the impact bacterial diversity has on skin health, with a view to use these insights for future product development at L'Oréal.
Skin microbiome space
The company is not the only one to turn their attention toward harnessing the full potential of the skin microbiome.
Earlier this year, personal care giants Unilever revealed it was in the midst of developing a microbiome balancing formula using a prebiotic binder for lotions, body washes, deodorants and toothpastes, among other products.
The international patent published in March, outlined a non-therapeutic topical composition comprising saccharide isomerate for use as a prebiotic when applied on a surface of the human body.
The composition, it said, could be used on the skin, scalp, axilla or oral cavity as a powder, flake, lotion, gel or mousse in products like deodorant; hand sanitiser; body lotion, body spray; toothpaste; shampoo; or face wash, among others.
Meanwhile, back in 2019, DSM Venturing, the venture investment arm of Royal DSM, made an equity investment in skin microbiome company S-Biomedic NV.
Not to be outdone, Micreos has its own series of endolysin-based products for human health under its Gladskin brand,
The endolysin Staphefekt SA.100, the active ingredient in these products, specifically targets S. aureus, including the resistant MRSA.
The Gladskin products are prescription-free, suitable for daily use as long as needed and available in Europe, the USA and Australia.
The company's endolysin XZ.700 is currently in clinical development and also targets S. aureus with atopic dermatitis identified as the first targeted XZ.700 indication.