Safety at One Biotech

Although it does develop antiaging pharmaceutical-grade actives for cosmetics, Senetek functions as a biotechnology company. Its CEO, Frank Massino, comes directly from pharma, where he was involved in the dermatology sector. “For every compound that we develop, we conduct safety tests just like we would to get a New Drug Application (NDA),” he says. “For instance, we do chromosomal aberration tests and genetoxicity tests. For all human testing, we follow the same protocol as with creating a drug (testing that is random, in a controlled environment with blood and lab work, a washout period and, most of the time, double-blind) and work with a major university. All our manufacturing is GMP, and we assay all products for actives content via independent testing, even if not required to do so by the FDA. We do not use consumer panels or dermatologist panels, we use hard science to objectify our results—including high-resolution photography and silicon profilometry. We double check that our products go where they are supposed to through permeation studies of finished goods.”

So, if all this seems to be a little overboard for a cosmetics ingredient supplier, Massino thinks that the safest route is the best route—for all stakeholders. “Of course, we are protecting the consumer, but we are also protecting our board, our company and our employees. We know, for instance, that certain compounds have a negative effect when put together, because we always study interactions before we combine ingredients. Since few people test this, there is no way to know how safe the products truly are [until this is done].”