Biotech development just got easier for specialty chemical, fragrance ingredient, and cosmetics companies

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Biotech development just got easier for specialty chemical, fragrance ingredient, and cosmetics companies
Amyris, an industrial bioscience company, launched a new program that lets researchers and businesses experiment with bio-synthetic ingredient making without investing in full-scale manufacturing.

The company’s newly announced initiative is a way for interested partners to try out custom ingredients sourced using biotech.

“Our Pathways Program provides partners with a unique and advantaged opportunity to access cutting-edge technologies that are at the forefront of bioengineering to explore the development of new materials with little upfront risk,” ​says John Melo, president and CEO at Amyris, in a statement to the press.

The statement explains that interested partner companies pay to have Amyris assess the feasibility of producing a given molecule using biotechnology. Presumably the next step in the partnership would be to contract with Amyris to produce and supply the molecule for use in product formulation.

The company describes “its Pathways Program [as one] that provides partners a low-cost, low-risk opportunity to access Amyris’s industry-leading synthetic biology technology.”

Beauty and the Department of Defense

To-date Amyris is known in the cosmetics and fragrance ingredients business for ongoing work with Firmenich, IFF, and Givaudan as well as for using biotech and plant sugars to produce Neossance Squalane and Neossance Hemisqualane for use in cosmetics formulations.

Now, participating Pathways Program companies will have the added benefit of brand-new tools and tech made possible by a technology investment agreement Amyris has with DARPA.

The defence research agency invests in commercial technologies that may benefit Department of Defence research programs, and struck an agreement with Amyris last September to do just that. The innovations coming out of the TIA are now apparently available to Pathways Program participants.

“Our mission is to accelerate the transition to a world that uses sustainably sourced bio-materials and we believe that making our technology more accessible removes a key barrier to making lower cost, higher performing products for a healthier planet,” ​explains the company.

Biotech and next-generation naturals

Personal care and cosmetics formulations that include natural ingredients are very popular with consumers. Sourcing the necessary volume of materials in a sustainable way is another question. 

Ingredients made using biotech are a solution that both the industry and consumers are getting behind. And, “bio-identical ingredients are simply better for the environment,”​ as Jillian Wright, founder of Jillian Wright Skincare, told this publication​ last year.

“They use fewer resources like water, soil and electricity. Plus, the ingredients have not been exposed to pesticides,” ​she added.

Numerous brands are innovating product lines with biotech. Silk Therapeutics’​ signature ingredient, for instance, is a patented liquid silk protein made using biotech. To learn about more smart ways the industry is putting biotech to work for beauty, check out this recent CD Buzz video

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