In March 2023, six finalists were selected from 112 projects for the 8th edition of The Cosmetic Victories competition. On April 4, Cosmetic Valley announced the two winners; one each in the Academic and Industrial categories. Following is an overview.
Academic Winner: Human Skin Model
The winner of the Academic award was the entry, "Model of Reinnervated Human Skin," from The University of Western Brittany, France. The project validated a human skin model re-innervated by human sensory neurons.
The model is entirely human and reportedly the closest to the physiology of human skin, including functional neurons. It allows for the more efficient testing of compounds or finished products both topically and systemically, including for the treatment of sensitive skin.
Industrial Winner: CO2-neutral Palm Oil Alternative
The winner in the Industrial category was the entry, "Carbon-light Alternative to Palm Oil," from COLIPI of Germany. This start-up works with the reportedly fastest-growing microorganism on Earth whose only source of carbon is CO2. The company unlocks the organism's natural ability to transform CO2 (with the help of O2 and H2) into biomass using a patented gas fermentation bioreactor technology. The outcome is a sustainable oil produced in a CO2-neutral way.
COLIPI is in the pre-seed phase, funded by Germany and the European Union through the EXIST research transfer program. It is a spin-off from the Technical University of Hamburg, where it is also currently operating.
Finalists in the Academic category include the entry, "Photoactivable Substances from Marine Algae," from the Université de Limoges of France. Its PHASMA innovation combines an active ingredient from a marine microalgae with light to treat acne. The natural extract is said to be obtained from an easily cultivated and renewable resource and requires no chemical modification. The mode of action, based on dynamic photoTherapy, allows for an effective antibacterial treatment at the local level, without causing resistance.
Another finalist was the entry, "Zenolase - The Most Potent Natural Senolytic Ingredient," from the National Nanotechnology Center in Thailand. Per the entry, the accumulation of aged (senescent) cells leads to inflammation and aging of the skin. Removing these cells offers a new anti-aging strategy; although limited effective options are available. This plant-derived ingredient reportedly has a senolytic effect comparable to that of drugs. It induces HYA/collagen synthesis, blocks inflammation, promotes skin lightening and is safe for the skin.
In the Industrial category, finalists include the entry, "In vitro Marine Ecotoxicity Tests of Sunscreen Products, from INNOV&SEA of France. The start-up INNOV&SEA proposed an approach to evaluate the impact of a raw material or finished product on the marine biotic environment without harming marine biodiversity. The company's in vitro ecotoxicity test process is based on cell cultures of marine organisms. It is designed to provide an eco-responsible, sustainable and efficient solution to assess and minimize the impact of products on the marine ecosystem.
Also in the Industrial category was the finalist, "Monitoring Harmful Contents in Cosmetics," by PiQuant of South Korea. The company provides methods to identify unwanted molecules in cosmetics during the manufacturing phase. Per PiQuant, analysis technologies are in development in relation to using plant resources and extracts. These methods ensure compliance with European regulations through very fine detection. By installing the innovation at the end of each production process, the start-up can identify when and where contamination comes from.
About the Competition
Entries for the Cosmetic Victories were selected by a committee of industry professionals and international scientific experts. They included research work and innovations that could be applied to any area of the cosmetics and fragrance industry. According to Cosmetic Valley, it is challenging to identify and support young and innovative companies, as well as to promote research and the cosmetic sciences. This led to the creation of The Cosmetic Victories competition in 2015, which is sponsored by the Cosmetic Valley-ESSEC endowment fund.