Genomatica, Backed by L’Oreal, Helps Push Forward Innovation in Sustainable Ingredients

L'Oreal's recent investment in Genomatica, a biotech business based in the United States, highlights the beauty industry's commitment to sustainable ingredient development and formulation. 

As the third and final founding investor in Genomatica, L'Oreal joins Unilever and KAO Corporation in supporting the growth of operations and research in plant-based cosmetic and personal beauty care product formulations. This investment aims to propel the industry's revenue to an impressive $100 billion.

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Christophe Schilling and Bernhard Palsson founded the biotechnology startup Genomatica in San Diego in 1998, and it has made significant advancements in the production of sustainable materials. Their biotechnology platform utilizes the fermentation of plant sugars to produce sustainable surfactants, which are essential ingredients in personal care product formulation and production. This process involves proprietary microorganisms developed by Genomatica.

L'Oreal's involvement in this sustainable initiative aligns with their commitment to environmental responsibility through their sustainability program called "L'Oreal for the Future." The program sets a target to create products with 95% renewable materials by 2023. By investing in Genomatica's biotech platform, L'Oreal aims to contribute to the development of renewable and eco-friendly ingredients for the beauty industry.

Furthermore, Genomatica's previous achievements include the introduction of the Geno BG technique in 2017, which involves producing butylene glycol for the beauty industry. In 2019, they commercially shipped Brontide, a natural cosmetic ingredient. These advancements demonstrate Genomatica's dedication to creating sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel-derived ingredients.

The collaboration between Genomatica, Unilever, KAO Corporation, and now L'Oreal has led to the establishment of a $120 million venture. This joint effort aims to scale up and commercialize plant-based ingredients that can be used in a wide range of everyday cleaning and personal care products. The goal is to disrupt the $622 billion home and personal care market by offering sustainable alternatives to consumers.

According to Kyle Huston, the Product Director at Genomatica, the joint venture signifies a significant endorsement of biotech as an avenue for innovation in the home and personal care industries. He emphasizes that this investment enables companies to meet consumer demands for transparency and sustainability by providing more natural and responsibly sourced ingredients.

The infusion of funds from industry leaders like L'Oreal demonstrates the growing support for renewable and sustainable ingredient innovation. It signifies an inflection point in the development of biotechnology, which has the potential to disrupt the well-established surfactant marketplace and pave the way for greener and more eco-conscious consumer products.

The joint venture between Genomatica, Unilever, KAO Corporation, and L'Oreal represents a significant milestone in biotechnology innovation and has the potential to revolutionize the home and personal care markets by offering more eco-friendly alternatives.