Amyris produces CBG for skin care at commercial scale

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (Pogonici)
© Getty Images / (Pogonici)

Related tags CBG cannabinoids biotech Skin care

Cannabinoid ingredients are increasingly popular in personal care. And with its engineered yeast and fermentation process, the biotech company Amyris is now equipped to manufacture cannabigerol, or CBG, commercially.

CBG is understood to be the originary cannabinoid, the one “from which all other cannabinoids are synthesized and is often referred to as the ‘stem cell’ of cannabinoids,” ​according to this month’s media release from Amyris.

And CBG is now the company’s first cannabinoid molecule available at commercial scale for use in the cosmetics and personal care industry. According to the release, Amyris is on track to deliver and see commercial revenue from roughly 1 ton of its CBG within the year. The biotech CBG will be used “as an ingredient in applications that are excluded from Amyris's current collaboration agreements.”

Biotech innovations at Amyris are moving swiftly

Cosmetics Design reported on the company’s efforts to produce cannabinoids via biotech at the start of 2020​ and on Amyris’ progress and testing in this item​ published March.

The biotech company has indeed been advancing its cannabinoid production technologies and capabilities quite rapidly. “Amyris’ biotechnology platform continues to demonstrate its capability to engineer yeast to create and produce differentiated high value products,” ​says Eduardo Alvarez, Chief Operating Officer, in recent remarks to the press.

“This molecule,” ​he says, referring to CBG, “was developed from initial target to full scale production in less than nine months.”

Amyris sees great potential for cannabinoids in skin care, especially in formulation with Neossance Squalane

“We are very excited about the disruptive nature of this molecule for potential skin care applications and through flavor and fragrance partnerships and our cosmetic distribution channels,”​ Alvarez says in this month’s media release about biotech CBG.

In March, Amyris shared news of recent clinical studies showing the effectiveness of its own biotech-derived squalane as a carrier oil for cannabinoids in skin care product formulations. As Cosmetics Design reported at the time, “data posted on the Amyris site [shows] the company’s squalane is a more effective carrier by 10 – 40 times than the other oils.” ​The other oils tested include, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and hemp seed oil.  

Biotech promises cleaner, greener, purer natural beauty ingredients

Amyris’ biotech production relies on sugar cane feedstock and carefully engineered yeast. The company specializes in developing the gene technologies that make scalable production possible. So Amyris partners with other companies like the cellular agriculture company LAVVAN and specialty chemical maker NIKKOL Group to scale production and to refine the quality and purity of the resulting molecules via testing.

“This [CBG] is the tenth product we deliver at scale through our fermentation platform,” ​says John Melo, President and CEO at Amyris, in his comments to the press this month.

“And,” ​he notes, it “reaffirms the continued expansion of our portfolio and our growth ambition to provide sustainably and economically produced natural ingredients.”

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