Brazil’s first beauty biotech business aims to be an international player

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Apoena Biotech is aiming to push the boundaries of formulation sustainability. Image © Pogonici / Getty Images
Apoena Biotech is aiming to push the boundaries of formulation sustainability. Image © Pogonici / Getty Images

Related tags: Biotechnology, Brazil

Apoena Biotech is the first ever Brazilian biotechnology beauty ingredients company in the country, but company executives have bigger ambitions as they line the business up to be a major international supplier.

The company started in 2018 by targeting the agricultural sector and has just launched a dedicated beauty and personal care division this year. It is now focused on growing its portfolio of ingredient solutions for beauty with the ambition of providing accessible solutions that are inclusive, sustainable, and effective for the whole industry.

The company says it is developing a portfolio of ingredients that are ‘greener’ than plant-based counterparts, creating highly effective actives that are both safer for the environment and for consumers to use.

The first ingredient will target skin care

The first ingredient is currently nearing the end of the launch pipeline and will have multi-functional skin care applications, including co-surfactant and anti-aging properties. Several other ingredients launches will then follow, primarily targeting the skin care and hair care categories.

CosmeticsDesign-USA talks to Sérgio Gonçalves, marketing consultant for Apoena Biotech, by K4R Consulting, who explains about the business strategy and its aims to become an international player in the fast-growing market for biotech beauty ingredients.

By choosing a future technology as the basis for its business model, Apoena Biotech wants to be an agent of change in an industry that is considered as essential, while carefully managing the balance between purpose and profit in the beauty and personal sector,”​ said Gonçalves.

The company is aiming to grow its business in the domestic market to begin with, and then to expand rapidly into the major international market, a business strategy that has been developed to meet growing demand for biotech ingredients, worldwide.

“Apoena’s mission is to lead the way in making biotechnology derived ingredients for beauty available firstly in Brazil, and then to go global,” ​Gonçalves said. “We are concentrating our efforts in the local market and will expand to Latin America, USA and Europe and Asia during the course of 2021 and 2022. Our target is to launch up to three products in 2021 as we are aware that a broad portfolio is key to being competitive.”

The business is being built around a single platform

Sérgio Gonçalves, marketing consultant for Apoena Biotech
Sérgio Gonçalves, marketing consultant for Apoena Biotech, by K4R Consulting

The business is taking a highly strategic approach to growing its footprint, which will be driven from a unified platform specifically created for efficient and fast growth.

“To quickly expand our businesses, we are designing a new business model, in which we will drive the business from a dedicated platform that will connect everyone more efficiently,”​ said Gonçalves. “This means that customers, employees, the sales team and all content will be available from that one platform, giving way to a faster ramp up and a more efficient and sustainable way of doing business.”

The company first plans to target the other major countries in the Latin American region, specifically Mexico, Colombia and Argentina, before looking to the USA and key European markets.

However, Gonçalves explains that Brazil will be the company’s number one market in the region. Not only is it the company’s domestic market, but also because of its sheer volume, currently being ranked as the fourth biggest beauty and personal care market in the world, according to market research company Euromonitor.

Apoena Biotech key advantages for beauty and personal care formulation:

  • The biotech processes are cleaner and have lower energy consumption.
  • The raw materials do not have to be cultivated or extracted as is the case for plant origin ingredients.
  • It does not negatively impact communities or groups of people and circumvents the need for sustainability practices need to be conceptualized, developed, implemented and certified.
  • Biotech does not affect the custody chain, as the raw materials are obtained from banks which can be stored in smaller spaces and less costly structure of transport.
  • The similarity of biotech micro-organisms to human organisms is another reason why biotech. Ingredients tend to be more effective in skin care applications then plant-based materials.

OECD case studies indicate biotech-based industries have shown a reduction in costs and environmental footprint of between 10% and 50%. 

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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