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L'Oréal Takes Minority Stake in French Biotech Start-Up Microphyt

November 30, 2022
November 30, 2022
Anni Roenkae via Pexels

L'Oréal accelerates its commitment to Green Science with a minority investment in French biotech start-up Microphyt, which can sustainably transform microalgae for new cosmetic solutions through its venture capital fund BOLD.

WHO: Founded in 2007, Microphyt is a French company that develops, produces, and markets natural ingredients derived from microalgae. Microphyt has been developing unique solutions for nutrition and well-being industries for over a decade. Its technologies are developed in-house and patented, allowing for the controlled production of a large variety of microalgae on an industrial scale and in a sustainable way. Microphyt currently employs 50 people and has a portfolio that includes seven patent families.

For over 110 years, L'Oréal has been the world's leading beauty player with a broad portfolio of 35 international brands and ambitious sustainability commitments. The business has 85,400 committed employees, a balanced geographical footprint, and sales across all distribution networks. With 20 research centers across 11 countries worldwide and a dedicated Research and Innovation team of over 4,000 scientists and 3,000 tech professionals, L'Oréal is focused on inventing the future of beauty and becoming a beauty tech powerhouse.

WHY: This partnership is an additional proof point of L'Oréal's Research and Innovation strategy towards Green Science and its investment in innovative biotech start-ups in France and across the world. This proactive strategy is at the heart of L'Oréal's 2030 sustainable development program, with the objective that 95% of its ingredients will be bio-sourced, derived from abundant minerals or circular processes.

Together, L'Oréal and Microphyt plan to build a technical platform and combine material and human resources to create microalgae biomass-derived raw materials. Those should then lead to new cosmetic solutions.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "We are going to put all the innovative power of Microphyt, including the actives they already have, with all the power of L'Oréal to evaluate both the efficacy and the safety, and to formulate," Anne Colonna, Head of Advanced Research at L'Oréal, said. "We really want to synergize to go one step further."

"Our ambition is to collaborate across the world with the most disruptive scientific entities in green sciences, in order to collectively develop responsible innovations on a large scale and make them available to as many people as possible," said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Research, Innovation, and Technology at L'Oréal.

She added the partnership "will enable us, thanks to its unique natural solutions derived from microalgae, to further accelerate our drive toward more sustainable beauty."

DETAILS:

  • L'Oréal made a minority investment in Microphyt through its BOLD venture fund. 
  • In July 2019, Microphyt raised €28.5 million ($32 million) in a funding round co-led by Sofinnova Partners and BPI France via the SPI fund ("Sociétés de projets industriels") managed as part of the "Programme d'investissements d'avenir," together with IXO-Private Equity and Sofilaro. Existing investors Supernova Invest, Demeter Partners, and Irdi Soridec also participated in the round.
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