L’Oréal invests in green sciences with Microphyt minority stake acquisition

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 30-Nov-2022

L’Oréal’s minority stake acquisition supports its 2030 sustainable development programme, which aims to ensure that 95% of its ingredients are bio-sourced

L’Oréal has acquired a minority stake in French biotech firm and microalgae manufacturer Microphyt.

The beauty goliath said it will work with Microphyt to build a technological platform to create raw materials from microalgae biomass.

Microalgae are microscopic plant organisms used in cosmetics for their active properties and functional qualities.

Both companies aim to use the ingredient to develop new cosmetic solutions.

The minority stake acquisition also supports L'Oréal’s 2030 sustainable development programme.

The scheme aims to ensure that 95% of its ingredients will be bio-sourced, derived from abundant minerals or from circular processes.

“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 CEO at L’Oréal Group.

“We are very pleased to pursue this new partnership with Microphyt, which will enable us, thanks to its unique natural solutions derived from microalgae, to further accelerate our drive towards more sustainable beauty.”

Microphyt said the partnership with L'Oréal also reinforces its own strategic roadmap.

In the last 18 months, the business has launched three innovative active ingredients in cosmetics.

It has also started the commercialisation of its first two patented ingredients in nutrition for the American food supplements market.

“We are delighted with this partnership with L'Oréal, which is fully in line with Microphyt's ambition to give the largest number of people access to natural solutions drawn from microalgae," adds Vincent Usache, Managing Director of Microphyt.

“The technological platform in an ‘extended lab’ mode is perfectly complementary to our own activities.

“With L'Oréal, this new technological platform will help us speed up the development of eco-designed ingredients, as well as facilitate the scale-up of our production.”

L'Oréal has made several strategic scientific partnerships into green sciences businesses.

This includes precision-health firm Verily, the National Institute for Materials Sciences (NIMS) in Japan and the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering (SCELSE).

Microalgae was hailed as one of the biggest ingredient opportunities for the beauty industry in 2021.

In an interview with Cosmetics Business, Jordi Ayats, Marketing Manager at Barcelona-located Algaktiv, explained why it forms an excellent basis for active cosmetic ingredients.

“They have these amazing active ingredients that have come all the way down from 3.5 billion years ago – and they really haven’t changed that much,” she said.

“Microalgae are made up of only one cell that carries out all of the functions needed by the organism, so they are packed with concentrated biochemistry, and, as a source for active ingredients, that makes them even more interesting.”

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