Debut Biotechnology partners with DIC on cosmetic pigment production

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (sleep24)
© Getty Images \ (sleep24)

Related tags Pigment biotech

Biotech promises to be the future of chemical synthesis and is already used to manufacture numerous cosmetics and personal care ingredients. The Debut-DIC deal is on track to deliver not only a new source for cosmetics pigments but also to showcase a new sort of biotech platform.

“With our advanced cell-free biomanufacturing platform, we’re able to produce color ingredients that are simply not possible with traditional fermentation-based biomanufacturing,” ​explains Joshua Britton, CEO of Debut Biotechnology, in a recent media release about the deal.

Cell-free biotechnology is what California-based Debut is known for. The company endeavors to make biomanufacturing more efficient than popular fermentation-style biotech. By making use of only select parts of (a microorganism’s) cells, the platform eliminates some of the spent-organism waste as well as feedstock waste. The platform relies mostly on enzymes as the engines of production.

“Our colors are naturally-derived with a fraction of the inputs—less waste and energy—and without the use of petrochemicals,” ​adds Britton, noting that “With this approach, we’re able to take on a level of complexity that creates whole new possibilities for the color ingredient landscape across industries.”

Partnering with a pigments specialist to explore new markets

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, DIC is a chemicals company serving the packaging and graphics industry with inks; resins and coatings for consumer goods, electronics infrastructure applications, and more; pigments for display as well as for the cosmetics industry. Which explains why Britton calls DIC “established leaders in the color ingredients industry.”

The Debut Biotechnology – DIC deal is an R&D deal, linking the two companies in a project to develop what are being called “natural pigments” ​for both the food and cosmetics industries.

As Kiyofumi Takano, Managing Executive Officer at DIC, outlines the collaboration, “DIC hopes to combine Debut's advanced knowledge of enzyme reactions and process design with DIC’s scale-up technology, quality control, and product development capabilities to develop and commercialize new sustainable, high value-added bio-based colorants, pigments, and healthy foods for global markets.”

The companies are optimistic that, in combination, the Debut platform and DIC knowhow will address consumer demand for degradable natural colors at industrial scale and deliver colors and pigments of a purity otherwise unavailable from non-petroleum sources.

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