Unveiled last month, the AxisBiotix product was made from a blend of Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactococcus lactis and had been developed to alleviate symptoms of psoriasis – a long-term chronic skin disease associated with red, itchy, scaly patches on various parts of the body. Working via the gut-skin axis, the probiotic powder blend was designed to be mixed in liquid for daily consumption, though testing also had shown efficacy when sprinkled onto foods like yoghurt and cereal.
Now regulatory compliant in the EU, UK and US, the AxisBiotix sachets were pegged to launch commercially in Q4 this year, starting in the UK and North America.
Product can make a ‘huge difference’ to lives of psoriasis sufferers
“We started with psoriasis because there’s no other cure,” said Stuart Ashman, CEO of SkinBioTherapeutics.
“It can affect people at any age and can last a lifetime. It has huge implications, not only on appearance but on mental health and general wellbeing. And when we started to engage with the psoriatic community, we found they were incredibly well educated about the condition; about the things that made them feel better. [They were] trying to help each other – very vocal and outspoken – and we felt it would be a great place to start – with that community of people who were so willing to get engaged with us,” Ashman told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.
In May this year, SkinBioTherapeutics released findings of a consumer study conducted on the product with 267 participants, 177 of whom identified as having psoriasis. Other participants presented a range of other skin conditions including acne and eczema. Study participants were given AxisBiotix to be taken daily for 56 days, mixed with water, and using an app were able to share descriptions and photos of their conditions throughout the period as well as changes in their quality of life.
Findings showed that for those self-identified as suffering from psoriasis, 80% reported a reduction in itchiness and 85% said their skin felt less irritable.
“I think what’s really excited us is the huge difference this has made to people’s lives,” Ashman said. “We could never have imagined the level and speed of success that we saw with this product.”
The gut-skin axis a ‘stunningly exciting’ area of science
Because of this, he said it was an area the company continued to be “very passionate about”. “…We’re just very much looking forward to helping to make a difference to people’s lives through this new and stunningly exciting area of science.”
AxisBiotix worked by rebalancing the gut microbiome in consumers suffering with psoriasis; replacing missing bacteria in the gut daily where the body was unable to do so, Ashman said. And SkinBioTherapeutics “passionately” believed products like this – working via the gut-skin axis – were the future of the skin microbiome field, he said.
“We are literally just scratching the surface. Once we understand more about the gut microbiome and the impact it can have on overall health, I think we’ll see a whole raft of products coming into the space.”
And importantly, there would be products stretching far beyond psoriasis, Ashman said.
SkinBioTherapeutics’ study showed that, more broadly, 76% of all participants that completed the study saw a significant reduction in itchiness, 75% saw a reduction in redness, 73% saw a reduction in irritability and 65% saw a reduction in flaky patches.
These “early indicative study results” therefore indicated promise for targeting other skin conditions, the company said, which supported plans to expand AxisBiotix beyond psoriasis in the future.
Beyond psoriasis and into cosmetics – ‘sensitive skin’ R&D in discussion
Whilst the probiotic strains and blend in AxisBiotix had been specifically designed to alleviate psoriasis symptoms, study findings showed potential for addressing symptoms associated with eczema, acne and rosacea and SkinBioTherapeutics saw even wider promise.
“We’ve actually talked about having a general cosmetic product that would basically calm down sensitive skin or skin particularly sensitive to changes in climate, diet and sunlight exposure etc. It’s very much on our radar,” said Ashman.
“…I think there is a market for a cosmetic product, and certainly there were a number of people in the study who had other things – acne, eczema, rosacea – and we saw a general calming right across the board.”
SkinBioTherapeutics would continue its research and development work, he said, with the ultimate goal of offering “a suite of products”, one of which would definitely be in the “cosmetic general skin health” category.
The team was also discussing the potential of combining a topical product made using its SkinBiotix technology that it exclusively licensed commercially to Croda International back in 2019, he said. According to Ashman, work was on track for a global upscale of the first active ingredient under the partnership this month.
Subscription launch – as ‘affordable’ as a cup of daily coffee
Meanwhile, for the upcoming AxisBiotix Q4 launch, the CEO said SkinBioTherapeutics was working closely with national psoriasis associations in the UK and US on exactly how to market the product. Though one thing was clear, he said – the product would not be on a supermarket or drugstore shelf.
“We’re going to sell this product by subscription because it’s a food supplement and needs to be taken every day. It’s not a case that you can take four or five sachets and feel better. When you stop taking the product, the symptoms will return.”
Because of this, he said it had been important to make the product “affordable – no more than a cup of coffee each day”. The sachets would be sold in boxes of 28, with a price-per-sachet of €1.80 ($2/£1.50). Pre-registrations had already opened for subscriptions.
Skin Microbiome: Next-Gen Innovation and Science
Interested in a deeper dive on the future of the skin microbiome? Want to know more about knowledge of the gut-skin axis and product developments in the field? CosmeticsDesign is holding its annual free-to-attend Skin Microbiome: Next-Gen Innovation and Science webinar later this month (September 28) that you can register to attend now.