New high-tech lab will meet demand for active ingredients in personal care

By Nicola Gordon-Seymour

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Silab biotech nutracosmetics

French biotech, SILAB, has opened a new high-tech research facility to “meet high market demand” for natural active ingredients in beauty and personal care markets.

SILAB has launched two new production facilities over the last three years as part of a three-year programme to increase output for global markets as part of a £25m (€30m) investment package.

The biotech has focused on site expansions, new technology and infrastructure to deliver sustainable, innovative solutions.

Deputy General Manager for Strategy, Xavier Gaillard said the expansion program stems from a desire to “offer the cosmetic and dermo-cosmetic markets ever more innovation solutions, while responding to the current major challenges of security, traceability and sustainability sourcing​”.

Immense possibilities

Natural active ingredients are an important growth area for SILAB and a “major strategic development route​”. The new lab therefore represents “a powerful innovation lever​” to support growing activity driven by customer demand, says Deputy General Manager for Innovation, Brigitte Closs-Gonthier.

Microorganisms are so diversified that they open up an immense field of possibilities. Biomimetic approaches also make it possible to develop new processes, such as bio-guiding.

“This is an area where much remains to bediscovered. It offers tremendous prospects for the development of new innovative active molecules,”​ she said.

Investment strategy

SILAB supplies global markets and develops around four to six standard or proprietary ingredients per year.

Bio-actives account for 20% of research and development, but the company is continually improving resources to bolster innovation through site expansion and skills progression.

The launch of a state-of-the-art unit last year quadrupled production capacity for yeasts, microalgae, and bacteria. The fully automated line uses an integrated L principal bioreactor to significantly expand output and add value to natural raw materials.

Closs-Gonthier said: “SILAB now has the means to further diversify its production of microorganisms and master their fascinating properties, opening up access to some unique molecules of interest.”

The new on-site technology enabled the development of Lactobiotyl, an ingredient derived from the bio-guided fermentation of the plant origin probiotic Lactobacillus arizonensis​, known for its resistance to desert conditions. It targets dry skin, to restore hydration and radiance.

Sustainable approach

SILAB recently developed spray-dried water-soluble powders “with stringent bacteriological standards​”, following construction of a 1,800m2​ production unit in 2019 with the capacity to process 50 metric tons of material – and at a cost of £9m (€11m).

The preservative-free powders contribute to sustainability goals and contain a high concentration of active molecules, compared with liquids, for smaller doses, and have an extended shelf-life.

Investment resources have also been used to build an internal training centre at Brive in France to develop in-house talent. The design adheres to environmentally criteria and offers multidisciplinary modules, including specialised labs and high-performance tools.

Focus on nature

The biotech fosters a sustainable approach to product development and choses resources that limit its carbon footprint. Ingredients are 100% natural or nature-derived and traceable, while 100% of waste material is either recycled or used to produce energy. The company also funds biodiversity protection initiatives.

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