How Sweet Chemistry and Xylyx Bio are transforming skin care with Matrikynes tech

By Cassandra Stern

- Last updated on GMT

"We assumed there might be resistance from the market because of the recent demand for plant-based technologies. While Matrikynes technology isn't for everyone, we have had surprisingly strong and positive response from the press, consumers, and the investment community," said Alec Batis, CEO & Co-Founder of Sweet Chemistry. © jeffbergen Getty Images
"We assumed there might be resistance from the market because of the recent demand for plant-based technologies. While Matrikynes technology isn't for everyone, we have had surprisingly strong and positive response from the press, consumers, and the investment community," said Alec Batis, CEO & Co-Founder of Sweet Chemistry. © jeffbergen Getty Images

Related tags upcycling Skin care ingredient tech Innovation

In this CosmeticsDesign Q&A, we explore how Sweet Chemistry and Xylyx Bio are pioneering advancements in skin care and human organ regeneration with their innovative Matrikynes Extracellular Matrix MultiPeptide technology, which incorporates upcycled hydrolyzed bovine bone into a peptide formulation that can penetrate skin.

New to the market, Sweet Chemistry is reshaping skin care and making a significant impact beyond anti-aging treatments. Founded through a collaboration with Xylyx Bio, Sweet Chemistry is on a mission to save lives using cutting-edge regenerative technology.

We interviewed Alec Batis, CEO & Co-Founder of Sweet Chemistry and Dr. John O’Neill, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Xylyx Bio and Co-Founder of Sweet Chemistry for their insights into how their proprietary Matrikynes Extracellular Matrix MultiPeptide technology, initially developed for human organ regeneration, is now being applied in skin care. Throughout our discussion, they provide an in-depth look at their innovative work which sits at the intersection of regenerative medicine and advanced cosmetic science.

CDU: What specific market need or gap in the skin care industry inspired the collaboration between Sweet Chemistry and Xylyx Bio?

Alec Batis (AB)​: There were two needs in the skin care industry that inspired the formation of Sweet Chemistry – formulation integrity and advanced repair technology.  

On the beauty industry side, I had been both R&D/Claims/QC Chemist and head Marketer for and on brands such as Pfizer/L'Oreal Group/Redken/Kiehl's, Shiseido/NARS, and Victoria's Secret Beauty – and intimately knew about the use of "marketing levels" for ingredient "stories.” I had both formulated using them, as well as briefed R&D as a marketer to use them. I was convinced that in the modern day of transparency, there is no place for them, so I concepted emulsions with less water to make room for functional levels of actives and minimum concentrations of botanical extracts/oils.  

Then in 2022, I was introduced to Xylyx Bio, a biotechnology company spun out of Columbia University's Laboratory for Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering, who specialize in Extracellular Matrix applications. I was surprised by what he learned since for the entirety of his career he'd only come across biotechnology from the Beauty space. 

I learned that Xylyx Bio was having incredible success rehabilitating human organs with their multiple innovations and has since published an organ repair sealant study in collaboration with Columbia, Stanford, and Vanderbilt that utilized Matrikynes technology, a proprietary form of Extracellular Matrix polypeptides (otherwise known as matrikines). I was told by Dr. John O'Neill, a highly respected expert on bioengineering and the CSO of Xylyx Bio, that they had evidence that these extracellular matrix fragments also worked to promote skin tissue repair and regeneration.

For this application, we took upcycled bovine bone from the food industry that would otherwise be discarded, and in 10 years with $10M in research grants, we were able to properly hydrolyze the bone into hundreds of signaling polypeptide fragments that are under 500 Daltons, allowing for skin penetration.

I was amazed by Xylyx Bio’s biomedical engineering work and equally so with how these technologies could move the world of singular synthetic cosmetic peptides to an entirely new level.  Xylyx and I decided to combine my activity-supported formulations with Xylyx Bio's Matrikynes in place of the current cosmetic industry peptides for an effective and novel approach to caring for the skin.

CDU: Can you elaborate on how Sweet Chemistry's partnership with Xylyx Bio is reshaping the landscape of skin care product development and manufacturing?

AB​: Together Sweet Chemistry and Xylyx Bio have created novel formulations, a deep understanding of the challenging and complex beauty market and combined those with a decade of research in regenerative medicine with Matrikynes Regenerative Extracellular Matrix Polypeptides. Partnering with a respected biotech company in Xylyx Bio allows Sweet Chemistry to accelerate the delivery of significant innovative technology to market, bringing a data-backed, patent-pending ingredient to consumer skin care.

This strong collaboration during product development allows Sweet Chemistry to not only push innovation in formulation, but also tap into our in-house R&D for exploring new ideas and the substantiation of product claims.

CDU: How does the integration of Matrikynes Extracellular Matrix Polypeptide technology into Sweet Chemistry's formulations differentiate the brand's products in the market?

Dr. John O’Neill (JON)​: Matrikynes Regenerative Extracellular Matrix - derived Polypeptides, which are matrikines fragmented from natural extracellular matrix of upcycled bovine bone, are a patent-pending ingredient that has been assigned its own INCI name, Hydrolyzed Cow Bone Extract - it is not a marketing "complex". 

They are only available in Sweet Chemistry products and were born from Xylyx Bio’s research, the same technology that has been used by pharmaceutical companies for drug testing and development. By applying the same rigor that goes into biotech and pharma research, we use data to inform and substantiate all claims made about Sweet Chemistry products.

CDU: Could you discuss the scalability and feasibility of implementing Matrikynes technology in mass-produced skin care products?

JON​: Currently Matrikynes polypeptides are manufactured at our research facility at the Suny Downstate Medical Center.  It is a complex proprietary process and we have plans to ramp up production capabilities with a key partner once we are poised to reach global scale.

CDU: How does Sweet Chemistry ensure the sustainability and ethical sourcing of materials, particularly with the use of upcycled bovine bone in its formulations?

JON​: The raw materials used for Matrikynes Regenerative Bone Peptides are upcycled from the food industry. Since we’re able to use what would be food industry waste, it gives new life to a material that would otherwise have been discarded.

And, since it’s upcycled from food-grade beef cattle, our suppliers are regularly inspected by the USDA to ensure their high standards for animal health and wellbeing are maintained.

CDU: Can you provide insights into the consumer reception and market demand for skin care products enhanced with Matrikynes technology?

AB​: We assumed there might be resistance from the market because of the recent demand for plant-based technologies.  While Matrikynes technology isn't for everyone, we have had surprisingly strong and positive response from the press, consumers, and the investment community.

While plant-based and synthetic biotechnologies are novel, we think there might be an innate understanding that organ tissue regeneration requires an approach that is uniquely aligned with regenerative medicine. Additionally, the fact that this technology is derived from food waste seems to resonate with the market because upcycling extends the life of materials that would ordinarily be discarded.

CDU: What trends do you foresee shaping the skin care industry, and how can B2B manufacturers and suppliers prepare to leverage advancements like Matrikynes technology in their product offerings?

AB​: While it’s not a new trend, we believe science-backed brands and ingredients, driven by rigorous research and data, is a trend that’s here to stay in skin care. Bringing innovative ingredients to the market takes significant time and financial investment—Matrikynes Regenerative Bone Peptides sits on ten years of research and $10M in NIH funding. 

There are many exciting innovations coming out of biotech labs, so partnering with them makes a lot of sense for manufacturers and suppliers.

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