Interview with Òscar Expósito, CEO, CSO and Cofounder of Vytrus Biotech S.A.

Òscar Expósito , CEO, CSO and Cofounder
Vytrus Biotech S.A.

Vytrus Biotech has been awarded by Ecovadis with the 2020 silver medal for its good practices in the fields of sustainability and corporate social responsibility systems. How important is sustainability for you?

Vytrus was born as a sustainable business and is the driver of our organization. 

Historically, sustainability has been a question of brand positioning and one more value within the company. Today, being increasingly aware of environmental problems and the impact that our activity and existence has on the planet, sustainability is an indispensable condition for current and future industry, a key element within the organization. 

Our unique technology platform allows us to interact with nature in a respectful way, drawing inspiration from it and applying sustainable research, development, and production procedures to take profit of the nature while respecting it. Vytrus exclusive technology reduce the use of soil and water compared to traditional plant cultures by almost 100%, being a differential and sustainable aspect compared to traditional plant extracts.

The industry must take into account its impact to nature, its limited resources, and be responsible both inside and outside the company.

You launched Nectaria Lithops in April, a new active to increase the vitamin D levels on epidermal cellsWhat is the concept behind this new ingredient?

When we studied the properties and benefits of vitamin D in the skin, we realize that the sum of them has a direct action on the luminosity, hydration, and turgor of the skin. 

Nectaria Lithops is inspired by its plant origin: The Lithops plant. This plant due it’s unique structure and richness in structured sugars is especially efficient in the management of water, space, and light on very extreme conditions. Developed from Lithops stem cells, Nectaria Lithops has a biophysical mechanism of action that optimizes the skin microenvironment to stimulate vitamin D synthesis topically. 

This plant stem cell-derived active bases its biophysical mechanism on optimizing the strong spatial organization of cell membranes, the maximization of light use, and boosting skin deep water reserves. 

By having an optimized skin structure, and vitamin D levels, we achieve what we call a D-Skin: a vitamin D enriched skin, a Dewy and Deeply hydrated skin, that also brings a new D-approach for the Sun care market. Up to 90% of vitamin D is produced from sunshine exposure, and although sun protection is important for our skin health, it might also be a barrier for the optimized vitamin D synthesis. Nectaria Lithops is a new way of helping the skin produce its own vitamin D while also being sun-protected. 

How will formulations change in the future, given that the consumers look for sustainable, yet same efficacy?

Beauty market and consumer demands are a changing market driven by new generations and being increasingly aware of their impact on the environment and seeking for more sustainable and respectful products. This change of priorities with eco-ethical considerations is driving to more conscious and sustainable purchases. New trends like waterless formulations, Green Beauty, with ingredients that provide clean and natural features, or Blue Beauty, related to the protection of water and oceans and the use of less plastic are now main market trends. Consumers prioritize ethical products and brands, in which values look for honesty and transparency. It will be essential to create a good and personalized user experience on the next years.

At Vytrus, we take care of the planet throughout the business process, COSMOS and EcoVadis Silver Medal 2020 certify our good business practices in terms of sustainability with advanced technologies that allow it. As a company, we have the responsibility to contribute and to take care of the planet from the production until the commercialization of our ingredients. Our Corporate Social Responsibility program promote creating synergies and initiatives to return to nature what nature gives us.

On the other hand, the Personal Care industry is being challenged to provide formulations that assure sustainability and efficiency at the same time. In terms of efficiency, researchers have been able to measure the importance of the skin microbiome in personal care and wellbeing. Cosmetic market must consider microbiome respectful formulations in order to get the results that consumers desire. And, in terms of obtaining more natural and sustainable formulations, soon we will see preservative-free cosmetics, which will have shorter expiration dates and will be commercialized refrigerated to guarantee their effectiveness.

How did vytrus meet the challenges of no in person tradeshows? 

With the limitations of the pandemic and post-pandemic situation, it has been necessary to get adapted to the digital medium to maintain contact with customers and stakeholders.

Most trade fairs, both local and international, were cancelled and Vytrus has digitized its presentations, constantly adopting the webinar format; has promoted digital networking through its participation in digital trade shows, which has allowed us to offer a similar personalized attention to our clients online and also through our corporate channels. These non-face-to-face events have allowed people worldwide to be connected, learning, and creating connections without having to travel, giving more flexibility.

The digital era brings us an opportunity to build more sustainable practices, costs saving, a broader audience, more marketing metrics, and so on. The digital format has a bunch of advantages! However, the face-to-face contact will always be the master. Specially in the B2B sector, professional and close relationships need to be built in person in order to create a long-lasting relationship and link where both partners trust each other. Vytrus has always believed in the value of human factor and seeing each other, and I truly think that once the pandemic situation stabilizes, our industry will turn its channels to a hybrid format, depending on the situation and the kind of exchange, taking benefits from both in-person and online events and meetings.

Do you believe we will ever return to large international events, or will the future be more local and sustainable?

As mentioned before, a hybrid format would be a good and balanced start point. 

The pandemic has shown us the advantages of optimizing an event with a digital format in certain actions: flexibility for visitors, broader target, costs saving, sustainability, and a softer impact on the environment.

From our point of view, international events will come back. The industry requires these events to have a global and closer reach. However, several actions will be assessed to determine which ones are worth doing in-person, which ones would require travelling, or turning it into a digital event. The in-person contact has a key point which might hardly be substitutable for virtual actions.

Also, the sustainability as a core purpose of companies will be a determining factor in the decision-making process. As a sustainable company, Vytrus is determined to go ahead with the digital format depending on the plan and event being more respectful with the planet, not just from our biotechnology point of view, but also in our organizational processes.

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