The Demark-based firm, which are due to take the stage in Copenhagen on 28-30 March, currently focuses on the skin, vaginal, and gut microbiota to create new microbiome and microbial solutions to target such conditions as acne and eczema.
Kjærulff, who has been CEO of Lactobio for almost five years, began by discussing his experiences in setting up the firm and following an uncharted path both as a start-up and entrepreneur.
Thanks for talking to NutraIngredients Soren. Could you begin by explaining your thinking and motivations in the formation of Lactobio?
Søren Kjærulff (SK) “I come from a background as Senior Director at Novozymes where I was responsible for Biopharma R&D, discovery and development of antibacterial and anti-inflammatory peptide candidates including responsible for building a lactic acid bacteria platform.
“From an educational background I have a Ph.D from Copenhagen University in molecular biology. The motivation for establishing and building Lactobio came from a personal challenge of not having found any natural treatment for my own eczema.
“And at the same time, I saw that the prevalence of skin issues like eczema, acne, rosacea and other inflammatory skin conditions were increasing globally.
“With my background, we started to work on state-of-the-art science to restore the skin microbiome by topically applying live probiotic bacteria which is a new, effective, and innovative way for atopic, dry, irritated and itchy skin, and acne prone-skin.”
Could you describe some of the challenges you encountered in getting Lactobio up and running?
SK: “With my experience and the team at Lactobio, the discovery and screening process to identify the best probiotic strains to target microbiome dysfunctions with significant efficacy have not been the largest challenge.
“Our discovery projects currently span different applications within skincare, human health, food and feed. The challenge, being a scientist by background, has been the commercialisation of these products and ingredients.
“In this field the focus and attention weren’t initially but the last year we have made significant process in this area and are today delivering both finished products under the BAK skincare name to end users and white label products as well as ingredients to B2B partners (both probiotics and postbiotics).”
As one of our pioneers, could you outline your approach or ethos in treading a path or direction that no other firm has gone before? How do you weigh up the risks and benefits here?
SK: “We wanted from the beginning to develop probiotic and postbiotic products with real, fast and visual effect for end users – since many people with visible skin issues are stigmatised. It is also important that the products have scientific and clinical evidence.
“We wanted to minimise risk by only using probiotic strains which already are on the regulatory positive lists in EU, China and US.
“Our targeted probiotic strains are some of the first live bacteria to be used in cosmetic products and registered in EU under the cosmetic regulation.”
Our pioneers this year focus very much on the toll modern lifestyle and ageing has on human health. Do you see this becoming more of a factor considering the rise in obesity and other chronic conditions?
SK: “The main trends for 2022 in the cosmetic & lifestyle space, Lactobio is tapping into i) Science driven skincare: consumers are turning increasingly towards science-driven skincare brands, ii) Natural ingredients: consumers will and are looking for potent ingredients that last longer which is driving interest in fermented beauty, this trend include skin rewilding which means protecting the skin’s unique microbiome and respecting its natural balance through probiotic based products, iii) Minimalism: balance and simplicity or treat and repair rather than a large regime of chemical containing products, iv) Health – an inside out approach: focus on what is put into our bodies at the same time as looking at what is put onto the skin directly based around holistic approach.
“Consumers today are much more aware of the links between gut health, hormone balance and wellbeing and the impact these have on skin health, this includes supplements.”
In the probiotic, prebiotic and microbiome space, what would you say is the next research area that the industry needs to keep its eye on?
SK: “Postbiotics is the next large research area in the microbiome space. Postbiotic have many benefits in different application areas because they are very stable at room temperature.
“The bioactivity of postbiotics is constituted of several cell components and secreted compounds including metabolites and peptides and can be addressed by new technologies like transcriptomics and metabolomics.”
Finally, what does confirmation that Lactobio is one of our 2022 Probiota Pioneers do for the company and its profile in such an innovative, ever changing industry?
SK: “It is a great honour and privilege to be selected as one of the 2022 Probiota Pioneers. We, as a team at Lactobio, see it as a testament to the work and progress we have achieved, especially the strong scientific results on our products, over the years to improve the life of people with skin issues. It means a lot to us that our work and passion for microbial solutions is being noticed.”
Held on 28-30 March in Copenhagen, Probiota aims to bridge the gaps between cutting-edge science, business strategy, and key regulatory developments in the microbiome, probiotic and prebiotic markets.
The three-day event will bring together CEOs, academics, and top researchers for networking opportunities, in addition to interactive presentations and debates in the fields of probiotics, prebiotics and the microbiome.
For more information and to register, please click HERE.