Biotechnology has made countless bioidentical, designer, truly novel, and even previously extinct ingredients and inputs possible. By making often-tiny edits to the DNA of microorganisms such as algae, bacteria, and yeast, companies can put biotechnology to work producing any number of molecules and ingredients at industrial scale.
And while at this point, there is nothing new about the basic concept of biotech ingredient production; it’s still pretty impressive each and every time. “This is arguably our biggest innovation breakthrough in recent years: a fermentation-based collagen platform that can effectively substitute the use of animal-derived collagen in pharmaceutical, medical, and cell culture markets,” says Dr. Thomas Riermeier, Senior Vice President and General Manager for the Health Care business line at Evonik, in this week’s press release about the new technology.
“We look forward,” he says, “to working with customers to develop the next-generation [of] collagen products with an improved safety profile.”
A new collagen option for the healthcare industry
The new Evonik collagen platform “[mimics] many of the attributes of natural collagen,” making it bioavailable, meaning “it can reliably interact with cells and tissues and be readily absorbed or remodelled by the body,” according to the company press release.
And like all contained and controlled ingredient production, the new Evonik collagen platform can produce an ingredient that is more pure and more consistent in quality and composition than wild-sourced ingredients. “Animal-sourced collagen, currently the main source of collagen for use in life sciences,” explains the release, “can be associated with batch-to-batch variability, potential transmission of diseases or pathogens, adverse immunogenic or allergic reactions, and non-sustainable sourcing methods.”
Evonik isa well-established specialty chemical company that is ready to take this new technology to scale: “Evonik will utilize its established fermentation process technologies and global manufacturing network to commercialize the collagen platform for worldwide use,” states the release.
And Johann-Caspar Gammelin, Chairman of the Board of Management for Evonik Nutrition & Care affirms as much saying, “Biotechnology is an important lever for growth and innovation within Evonik Nutrition & Care that leverages our core competencies across fermentation, biomaterials and product industrialization.”
Vegan collagen has been available to skin care and beauty makers for years
In 2018 a US-based biodesign company called Geltor began producing vegan collagen at commercial scale and offering it for sale to beauty brands and manufacturers around the world. Late last year, the company signed an ingredient distribution deal with Connell that made Geltor’s biodesigned proteins widely available in the APAC region.
Geltor launched with a protein called N-Collage and in 2019 added a bioidentical human collagen protein called HumaColl21 to its ingredient portfolio. The Geltor ingredients are certified vegan and Halal; and they’re being used today in successful skin care product formulations.
Deanna Utroske has been carefully observing and reporting on both the emergence of vegan beauty and biotech ingredient production for years now. As Editor of CosmeticsDesign.com, she writes daily news about not only these topics but about the full spectrum of beauty business issues in the Americas region; she and regularly produces video interviews with cosmetics, fragrance, personal care, and packaging experts as well as with indie brand founders.