Bayer to develop medical skin care from staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria strains

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

image of staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria courtesy of Bayer AG
image of staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria courtesy of Bayer AG

Related tags microbiome Bacteria biotech Dermatology

Late last week, the multinational pharmaceutical company announced a partnership with dermatology biotech company Azitra to will leverage the skin microbiome in a whole new way.

Thanks to companies big and small, research and knowledge of the organisms that live on human skin is advancing, as are personal care technologies that involve the skin microbiome.

“The skin microbiome offers a promising platform for the development and commercialization of natural skin care products more and more people are looking for,” ​says Heiko Schipper, President of Bayer Consumer Health and a member of the board of management at Bayer AG, in the company’s media release about the new partnership with Azitra.

“As Bayer is committed to the development of science-based consumer health products through our own research as well as external partnerships,” ​he continues, “we’re delighted to collaborate with Azitra.”

Making skin better with bacteria

Bayer works in the medicated skin care and therapeutic products space; and therefore, the company can develop and use technologies that consumer skin care brands cannot. All the same, partnerships like this one between Bayer and Azitra go a long way to not only to developing new treatment products but also to shape consumer expectation and industry knowledge.

Azitra, owns a library of proprietary strains of staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria and, according to the company site, “is developing products that address both disease and dysbiosis.”

As Schipper notes in the recent media release, “The company has already demonstrated tolerability of a selected Staphylococcus epidermidis strain in healthy volunteers and is now planning to start the clinical demonstration of efficacy.”

And now, “Bayer plans to develop selected Staphylococcus epidermidis strains into new natural skin care products under a future License Agreement,” ​states the release. Initially new products are expected to address eczema-prone skin and atopic dermatitis. Eventually, the partnership could result in new nutritional and digestive health products as well.

Bacteria as intellectual property

Azitra is focused on 3 ways to commercialize staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria (SE) technologies: developing SE commensal products (basically adding the strain to the skin to correct for dysbiosis), developing enhances SE commensal products (bacteria that have been genetically engineered to deliver active ingredients or proteins through the stratum corneum), and developing new drug active ingredients from SE (isolating or deriving bioactive compounds from the bacteria and using them to medically treat skin disease).

And the partnership with Bayer fits in with this business model: “We are strongly committed to the potential of the microbiome to provide significant benefits for improved skin health and appearance,” ​Richard Andrews, President and CEO of Azitra, tells the press. “By working together with Bayer,” ​he says, “I am confident we can deliver on the promise of this technology.”



One of the cosmetics and personal care ingredient trends Deanna Utroske specializes in covering is microbiome beauty.
And you can read  her early overview of all things microbiome and skin care here on LinkedIn​.

As Editor of, she writes daily news about the business of beauty in the Americas region and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders. 

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