First-ever ELC NIV BRKTHRU VOICES prize awarded to protein-engineering company Enantis

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

Sponsored by ELC’s investment arm, New Incubation Ventures, Enantis will receive a $10,000 grant, mentorship, and access to the NIV network. © CosmeticsDesign
Sponsored by ELC’s investment arm, New Incubation Ventures, Enantis will receive a $10,000 grant, mentorship, and access to the NIV network. © CosmeticsDesign

Related tags in-cosmetics Global Estée lauder companies investment firm

The award-winning company’s research focused on "stabilizing growth factors using a full in-house development cycle" and was acknowledged as the most innovative technology out of this year’s new exhibitors at In-Cosmetics Global.

This year’s In-Cosmetics Global show marked the first time that The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC) New Incubation Ventures awarded its BRKTHRU VOICES prize. The award, which includes a $10,000 grant as well as mentorship and access to the ELC NIV network was a highly sought after commendation for new exhibitors at the show to celebrate their innovation in the beauty space. 

About ELC’s NIV & the BRKTHRU VOICES award 

According to the organization’s literature, NIV is “the strategic early-stage investment and incubation arm for the Estée Lauder Companies,” and its goal within the company is to “look to bring together entrepreneurs, labs, scientists, and everybody else across the ecosystem to bring new beauty brands to life,” as well as “to support our work and collaborate closely with our R&D team who looks to bring this external innovation inside Estée Lauder to our ELC portfolio companies,” shared Ryan Piela, Executive Director of NIV during his opening speech at the award ceremony. 

“The BRKTHRU prize was created by NIV, New Incubation Ventures, to spotlight innovation and drive beauty and celebrate the talent behind this scientific innovation,” Piela continued, further explaining that the criteria for “the prize focused on four key pillars: clinical breakthroughs, product innovation, ingredient innovation, and active derms.” 

The finalists, he added, “were selected from a group of over 100 applicants reviewed by internal and external experts across finance, R&D, and entrepreneurship.” 

Nominees & award winner 

There were five finalists for award consideration, which included Ascension Medical Biotechnology who produce guided biochemical post-exosomes and related derivative products; Enantis, a protein engineering company focused on the stabilization of growth factors using a full in-house development cycle; Oriel Marine Extracts, who has created Hydrosphere, a patented technology to harvest rare magnesium, minerals, and trace elements for protected sources; Sethic Innovation Labs who delivers beauty and personal care solutions with their unique co-culture permutation technology; and SupadElixir Co., Ltd. a bioscience company that researches and utilizes tripeptides for cosmeceutical products. 

The winner of the first-ever BRKTHRU VOICES award was Enantis, and the award was accepted by Jan Herudek, Ph.D., Senior Scientist – Applied Projects, Terezia Ikrenyiova, MSc., R&D Specialist in Cosmetics, and Alzbeta Hauser, Ph.D., Business Development Manager. This was the Czech Republic-based biotech company’s first foray into the cosmetics space, the trio shared, and they shared their surprise and excitement surrounding the win. 

About the innovation that received the BRKTHRU prize, Dr. Herudek shared that “we started with stem cell research focus, but then we found out that our growth factors that we developed are actually applicable in other fields, and that's how we ventured into cosmetics.” 

“We're protein engineers, and that means we're actually improving proteins by manipulating their sequence and structure,” he continued. “Our first target is actually FGF2-STAB, which is the stable form of FGF2, fibroblast growth factor 2, and this molecule is being used in both stem cell research and cosmetics for years because it has anti-aging properties.” 

He further explained that the molecule “helps cells to regenerate and induces anti-aging effect and with our FGF2-STAB we wanted to launch the ingredient on the cosmetics market, and that's why we participated here.” 

“We have ended up with this prize completely unexpectedly,” Hauser concluded, adding that “knowing now that this first ingredient was so well received, we have some other molecules in the pipeline that have potential in cosmetics, so that’s coming soon.” 

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