Tel-Aviv-based Oddity, which in 2022 launched the SpoiledChild brand, has acquired Boston-based AI-driven molecule discovery firm Revela for $76 million. The company will now establish Oddity Labs, a biotechnology R&D center, in Boston with a $25 million investment.
The acquisition and new lab will allow Oddity to develop proprietary pharma-grade molecules, probiotics, peptides and "other biological modalities" for beauty and wellness using AI, which can be subsequently launched in current and forthcoming Oddity direct-to-consumer brands.
Revela's competitive advantage reportedly includes its phenotypic database, which helps the researchers understand the biological mechanisms that drive cellular behavior for beauty and wellness applications.
In addition, the company is able to harness synthetic biology, genomic sequencing and robotics, along with AI, to speed up the development of effective and safe ingredients.
This system supports high-throughput screening of tens of thousands of molecules using biological assays, the results of which are fed through deep learning models to scale up screening across millions of potential molecules.
Top molecular candidates are then validated in vitro and subjected to safety testing in silico and ex-vivo. Only then are materials subjected to human clinical testing for final validation.
These validated molecules are then further optimized through RNA sequencing, molecular docking and molecule representation algorithms, per the firms.
To support these activities, the organization has appointed David Zhang, Revela’s CSO, as head of bioengineering, and Avi Boppana, Revela’s CTO, as head of platform.
Revela's tech has already led to the launch of ProCelinyl, a small novel molecule that reportedly supports the dermal papilla cells and renders hair, brow and lash follicles more vibrant.
Revela's Fibroquin, meanwhile, is a retinol alternative that reportedly supports the pro-collagen pathway in skin to promote skin elasticity and plumpness. The technology is said to have generated a 2x improvement in skin elasticity in an 8-week study compared to subjects using a 0.5% retinol serum.
Forthcoming ingredients include solutions for skin and hair, per the companies, with "hundreds" of molecules in the development pipeline to address these and other categories.
“Oddity is deploying its strong balance sheet to continue reinventing the beauty and wellness market and cement our competitive advantage and technology moat,” said Oran Holtzman, Oddity's co-founder and CEO. “With 40-million-plus users, 1-billion-plus data points and dozens of machine learning algorithms, we believe Oddity is years ahead of our industry when it comes to technology. With the acquisition of Revela, we are doubling down on innovation but this time around science-backed product development and bringing proven pharma-grade technology to beauty and wellness. Not just for one ingredient or to solve one pain point–but with a platform that spans categories, use cases and form factors. We believe the combination of Oddity's dominant direct to consumer platform and scaling machine with Revela’s biotechnology will be a game changer for the industry. Together we will redefine product efficacy via AI-based molecule discovery engines for the benefit of consumers worldwide. Revela’s multi-category pipeline will be launched via Oddity's current and future brands to support future growth.”
“Advances in computation and molecular biology have ushered in a new era of discovery and development," said Evan Zhao, Ph.D., Revela co-founder and CEO. "We can now far better understand the biological pathways that drive the behavior of cells, and we can also identify novel molecules that influence that behavior to deliver desired outcomes, in ways that were never possible before. We believe this technology, which is already widely used in pharma for drug discovery, allows us to create targeted and highly efficacious products across a unlimited range of consumer needs, and do it with a speed and efficiency that the industry has never seen before."
Holtzman noted, “We have seen the transformational powers of biotechnology and artificial intelligence on drug discovery, and are unleashing these technologies in the beauty and wellness space with massive investment. While our competitors are stuck in the past, adding Revela will allow us to build the future of R&D for the category, just as we did with our technology center in Tel Aviv.”
Zhao added, “We founded Revela to change the beauty and wellness industry, which has stagnated from underinvestment in science and technology. While biotechnology has broken new ground in molecule discovery, beauty and wellness has fallen behind for decades, and is serving consumers repackaged versions of sub-optimal ingredients that have been used for decades. Together with Oddity and its technology platform and online capabilities, we believe we will change this paradigm and redefine the industry.”