Unlocking the potential of Plant-Derived Peptides in Well-Ageing

A Conversation with Dr. Òscar Expósito,
from Vytrus Biotech

Vytrus boasts a rich history of research in plant peptides. Could you please share your latest groundbreaking discovery in this area, and what sets your biotechnology platform apart as truly distinctive?

Vytrus’ expertise extends beyond microbiota research, encompassing innovative advancements in plant regeneration processes. This exploration taps into the potential of plant stem cell cultures and growth factor-like actives for skincare.

This pioneering work is made possible by the Phyto-Peptidic Fractions™ (PPF) technology platform, representing the first generation of authentic plant peptides, a groundbreaking discovery heralding a new era in cosmetics. Vytrus Biotech's diligent Growth Factor Control development process has enabled the identification, production, and concentration of these Phyto-Peptidic Fractions™ from optimized stem cell cultures.

These PPF are the key contributors to the extraordinary regenerative properties of stem cells, unlocking their potential for cosmetic use for the first time. Phyto-Peptidic Fractions™ thus emerge as the inaugural cosmetic actives capable of preserving and harnessing the skin's regenerative capacity.

Vytrus Biotech's research has delved into the properties of Centella asiatica and Curcuma longa stem cells, revealing authentic natural plant peptides with a sustainable and scalable plant technology platform. These peptides exhibit a growth factor-like effect, demonstrating high homology with animal growth factors and involvement in similar physiological cell processes. Significantly, they exhibit an impressive growth-promoting impact on aging human dermal fibroblasts, presenting substantial potential for rejuvenating the skin through a mechanism similar to that of growth factors.

Centella Reversa™ and Capilia Longa™ are the result of intelligent plant strategies aimed at creating authentic plant growth factors to reverse cell senescence and regulate the hair growth cycle. What is the innovation behind the development of these actives? What benefits do these innovations offer to consumers?

Centella Reversa™, known as "The Equation of Youth," leverages its ability to reverse the senescence phenotype in aging human dermal fibroblasts and stimulate cell proliferation. This breakthrough discovery offers promising applications in cosmetics, including skin rejuvenation, as well as dermatological treatments such as skin regeneration and wound healing. Importantly, it presents a natural, plant-based alternative to traditional animal growth factors.

Vytrus has harnessed this 100% natural and COSMOS-approved innovation to create an active ingredient derived from natural Centella peptides. This active ingredient delivers comprehensive improvements in facial complexion. Its regenerative properties are rooted in unique plant growth factors that effectively reduce skin wrinkles, roughness, red spots, and pore size.

Remarkably, Vytrus leverages the smart plant strategies by recognizing the striking similarities in the growth patterns and micro-environmental dependencies between plants and humans. As previously mentioned, both plant and animal growth factors fulfil comparable roles, and Vytrus maximizes this by utilizing plant growth factors for enhancing hair growth and related applications. One such product, CAPILIA LONGA™, offers a natural solution to enhance hair, eyebrows, beard hair and eyelash density by initiating an epigenetic reset of hair bulb activity, reinvigorating dermal papilla cells.

Given the growing concern within the dermocosmetic industry regarding microbiota-friendly cosmetic products, can you elaborate on the significance of conducting a microbiota compatibility test on Vytrus’ actives?

In an age where consumers are increasingly conscious of their skin's health and its exposure to environmental factors (exposome), there's a growing demand for science-based, sustainable skincare solutions. With over a decade of expertise in skin microbiota research, Vytrus Biotech seamlessly combines sustainable plant biotechnology with microbiota studies to develop and ensure the compatibility of their products with the skin's microbiome. They employ an in vitro test that substantiates the viability and diversity of the skin microbiome when their actives are applied. This innovative testing method involves assessing a bacterial co-culture both with and without the presence of the actives, ensuring the continued compatibility of the active ingredient with the skin microbiome.

The biotech company is committed to expanding the application of this groundbreaking test across its entire portfolio, demonstrating its dedication to microbiota-friendly skincare solutions.

You recently launched Photobiome™, a new category of microbial antioxidants and an innovative approach in photoageing. What is the novelty of this active?

The new active, called Photobiome™ – The microbiota photoprotector, paves the way for a new category of Microbial Antioxidants, nurturing and helping our skin natural solar biodefense to photoprotect itself  and boost the release of its natural photo-defense molecules, thus improving the signs of photoageing on the skin.

With its 100% natural prebiotic active, Vytrus redefines the fight against microbial-induced photoageing, optimizing the modulation of the relationship between the skin microbiota and solar radiation.

This novelty has been chosen amongst the few nominees of the Innovation awards at in-cosmetics Global 2023, the world leading event for personal care ingredients. Also, Photobiome™ has been honored with the Best Ingredient Award 2023 at in-cosmetics Korea and recognized for its innovative contributions to the BSB Innovation Awards 2023.

The innovation will be presented at SEPAWA Congress 2023 from the 25-27 October in Berlin, Germany. Our German distributor (Novoclon) representative, Karsten Lingen, will be giving a scientific conference about “The Photobiome Factor: a new role of skin microbiota in photoageing” on Thursday 26 October, Room 10+11, 11:00 - 11:15.

Looking forward, what are your expectations for the cosmetic industry's evolution in the coming year and beyond, and what technological advancements can we anticipate from your research and development efforts in 2024 and the near future?

Looking ahead to the future of the cosmetics industry, we anticipate that the Asia Pacific (APAC) region will continue to assert itself as a dominant player in cosmetics and personal care. As exemplified in the most recent in-cosmetics Korea trade show, which acts as a vital forum uniting the industry to explore emerging trends, the region's influence remains strong. The summer edition of this trade show, in particular, yielded priceless insights into forthcoming trends, serving as a platform for inspiration, knowledge exchange, and the cultivation of business relationships.

One noteworthy trend to watch involves the incorporation of active ingredients into skincare routines, particularly among younger consumers. A plethora of ingredients is entering the market, focused on balancing and fortifying the skin barrier. Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, and Centella Asiatica are among the most frequently utilized ingredients in this context. Although these ingredients may already be familiar and found in many products, suppliers are continually enhancing their effectiveness by tailoring molecule sizes to their specific applications. This innovative approach holds great promise for the future of skincare technology, where plant stem cells may also play a pivotal role.

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