Sources inform ''Globes'' that StarletDerma Ltd. has signed a development cooperation agreement with cosmetics giant L'Oreal SA (Euronext; OR) to develop a new method for transdermal delivery of hyaluronic acid, a cosmetic active ingredient for smoothing and filling wrinkles.
StarletDerma was founded over a decade ago as Nanocyte to develop an epidermal delivery platform for pharmaceuticals derived from jellyfish, before switching from pharmaceuticals to medical cosmetics, using an epidermal delivery product derived from the starlet sea anemone's protection system for delivering venom to predators.
The agreement with L'Oreal will initially generate a few million dollars for StarletDerman, and if all goes well, the agreement could be expanded and generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue. The collaboration will use StarletDerma's sea anemone-derived Inocyte product for the delivery of L'Oreal's hyaluronic acid solution. Because of StarletDerma's products are based on a proprietary combination of its mechanism with cosmetic or pharmaceutical active ingredients, it can sign several cooperation agreement with different companies at the same time.
StarletDerma was founded by Dr. Shimon Eckhouse and is run by CEO Dr. Amir Toren and chairman Alon Maor, a venture partner at BRM Capital. "My objective at the company is to strengthen its commercialization," Maor told "Globes". "This is my strong point."
Sea anemones, like jellyfish and other venomous marine fauna, have systems of micro-hypodermic needles less than 100th the width of a human hair, which puncture the skin. StarletDerma's technique is similar: first place on the skin the needles, then the cosmetic and the ingredient to activate the needles. They penetrate the skin to insert the cosmetic, such as anti-aging agents or fillers. The procedure is painless, except for a possible slight stinging sensation. The needles do not penetrate beneath skin, preventing the cosmetics from entering the bloodstream.
StarletDerma raises its own starlet sea anemones at a site in Caesarea. Part of the company's challenge has been to commercialize the raising of the anemones production of their needles, a challenge that the company believes it has met. The company adds that its procedure is now repeatable and that it is possible to control the concentration of the needles and of the active ingredient.
StarletDerma has conducted clinical trials on 21 patients of its product to deliver an anesthetic for the treatment of acne. The results were promising and there were no safety problems.
"We've had agreements with well-known companies for a little over a year, and they are all enthusiastic, both by the results we achieve with their substances and by the repeatability of the results in their laboratories," says Maor.
StarletDerma has raised $9 million to date, including from Syneron Medical Ltd. (Nasdaq: ELOS) founders Eckhouse and Moshe Mizrahi, executives from leading investors in aesthetics companies, and a group of Brazilians.
Toren says that there is no need for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for cosmetics that make no medical claims, but that each product requires safety trials with 100-200 people at the most. The global cosmetics market is $40 billion, including $25 billion for facial care products. The company's first product, a facial whitener or acne treatment, is due to reach market by mid-2015.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 26, 2014
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