The news has led to a surge in its Stock price by 15 % : at the end of march, the biotechnology company Deinove has announced launch into the ingredients for cosmetics. It has entered into an agreement with Greentech, an SME specialized in this field. “We have for example bacteria déinocoques, are able to reconstruct their genomes : a dream for big brands of cosmetics, given their power to anti-age by example “, says Emmanuel Petiot, chief executive of the company, which hopes to achieve its first sales in 2018. Aiming, until then, the biofuels sector, the company had thrown in the towel last September, believing that profitability would be too difficult to achieve with the current level of oil prices.
As was the case with many chemical groups, Deinove wants to surf on the wave of the cosmetic ” organic “. This is one of the major themes of the Show, the chemistry of bio-sourced, Plant Based Summit, which opens on Tuesday in Lille : it is to replace molecules derived from the oil by ingredients of natural origin, plant or biomass. “The trend dates back to fifteen years ago, but it has clearly accelerated in the past two or three years , “says Christophe Séné, in charge of regulatory affairs at Stepan, a manufacturer of surfactants (molecules to mix the water and oil).
A demand that is growing quickly
Born around 2005 after the campaigns general public about the risks of parabens, which have been expanded since the silicones, phenoxyethanol or phthalates, the appetite of the consumers for the natural continues to develop : even if the cosmetic “organic” remains a niche market, its growth is reached, according to the firm Ecovia (ex-Organic Monitor), 7% to 8% per year over the past few years and far exceeds that of traditional markets. “ On the market of surfactants, 45% of raw materials are now from renewable sources “, continues Christophe Séné.
All the major groups of cosmetics are stepping up their efforts on the subject, like the leader L’oréal. “Many customers who were not explicitly part of the market of the natural cosmetics are now also applicants from renewable raw materials “, explains t-it at BASF.
“When we launch new research programs, the renewable origin of the molecules is now included systematically in the specification “is also demonstrated by Guénolé Le Calvez, director of the active cosmetics of Seppic, a subsidiary of Air Liquide. Four years after having acquired BiotechMarine, specializing in ingredients from seaweed, the company has just to buy from Bayer the company Serdex, which has supply chains of plants of Madagascar, in order to expand its range of natural ingredients. “We now have 75 ingredients labelled “organic”, a little over 200 , “says Guénolé Le Calvez. The SME Greentech, specifically specialized on this niche, displays a two-digit growth for several years.
Yet molecules are non-substitutable
To compensate for a price that is often higher, the chemists seek to compensate by superior performance. The start-up that PAT has developed an original process for extraction of molecules of remarkable present in the rare plants, which have unique properties against aging, or to the hydration and firmness of the skin. “These polyphenols or flavonoids are molecules which are very complex, that it would be complicated or impossible to produce by synthetic processes , “says its president, Jean-Paul Fèvre. The young company made a splash : after you have entered into exclusive contracts with big names like Chanel, it hopes to double its turnover next year, thanks to the marketing, catalog, of the four original ingredients.
All of the molecules from the oil, however, are not substitutable. According to UFC-que choisir, the mineral filters contained in sunscreens bio, for example, do not protect as much as the filters from the chemistry. They may also contain essential oils that are allergenic. Similarly, the gelling agents, which allow to thicken oils, or polymers, film-forming, depositing a film on the skin or nails, for example, do not yet have natural alternatives. But this is probably only a matter of time : the battalions of researchers are already at work.