Geltor CEO highlights scaling objectives to fulfil Gelita collaboration
22 Jan 2020 --- Biodesign company Geltor is at the forefront of animal-free proteins in the collagen sector, with the company set to launch its first ingestible product this year in collaboration with Gelita. This ingredient requires a new range of tests separate from Geltor’s personal care offerings, in addition to creating a new regulatory landscape to navigate. Alex Lorestani, Co-Founder and CEO, speaks with NutritionInsight about the burgeoning market for animal-free collagen, with respect to the challenges and opportunities ahead.
“Sourcing collagens from animals has always been a compromise. In modern times, marine, bovine and porcine collagens have been used for a wide variety of medical and industrial purposes, and its use for cosmetic and nutritional purposes dates back even further in history. Until now, we were limited by technology that dictated how and from which species we could obtain our collagens,” Lorestani explains.
Today, industrial fermentation and newer biodesign tools have made it possible to produce other types of collagen without animal inputs at any point in the production process. This includes the company’s “human collagen,” which had never before been made commercially available for consumer products. Dubbed HumaColl21, the product is touted as having maximum biocompatibility with human skin cells.
The company describes its method of manufacturing HumaColl21 as a “sustainable fermentation process similar to beer brewing” that enables production anywhere in the world using only a fraction of the land, water and time normally required to process animal collagen. Today, most collagen for consumer products is sourced from the skin and bones of factory-farmed pigs and cows, and from marine animals, often without consideration for biocompatibility with human skin.
“HumaColl21 is the first and only collagen ingredient designed for use in topical skincare. From a sensory and formulation perspective, it is different right off the bat due to being virtually colorless and odorless – features that the animal-derived collagens are inherently challenged with. Our products have also been clinically tested and shown to be higher in purity and uniformity, and with superior results in the appearance of users’ skin compared to conventional collagens,” continues Lorestani.
A global shift in the collagen market
Lorestani further explains that these technological breakthroughs have occurred alongside the explosion of popularity of collagen and consumer proteins in general. There is also an increasing demand for those proteins to be made sustainably and without implicating animals. Indeed “The Plant-Based Revolution” and “The Sustain Domain” were crowned Innova Market Insights’ number two and three trends for 2020, respectively. The market researcher has indicated that 85 percent of, on average, US and UK consumers expect companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64 percent in 2018.
“Globally, Geltor-powered products are being purchased more than every 30 seconds. This shows that we’re already seeing a significant impact. Brands that were barred from using collagen in their formulations before – whether because of ethical concerns around animal sourcing or sensory issues – are now able to access a bona fide alternative,” says Lorestani.
He also believes that the company is raising the bar on consumer protein in general. “Biodesign is allowing the consumer packaged goods industry, on the whole, to rethink what’s possible for protein ingredients, from sourcing to specific functionality. It’s a really exciting time, and our technology is absolutely changing the game.”
Collaboration with Gelita
In addition to Geltor expanding its offerings from the beauty industry to food, it will also have to scale up production. This is while also taking into consideration different bioactivity and sensory factors like taste and texture for its proteins. “Geltor’s cosmetic ingredients are constantly undergoing different in vitro and clinical testing, but ingestible ingredients will require a completely different set of tests,” explains Lorestani.
The company’s next objective is to reach commercial-scale production for the ingestible collagen ingredient it is working on with Gelita. The companies signed a letter of intent for developing and commercializing the proteins at SupplySide West last October. Gelita will conduct clinical research and commercialize the product as an addition to its existing collagen portfolio of bioactive collagen peptides.
Looking back at the journey of Geltor, Lorestani cites scaling fast enough to meet the demand as the biggest challenge since the company launched marine collagen Collume two years ago. “Geltor’s biodesign platform incorporates standard biotechnology industry manufacturing practices. Therefore, scaling up to a commercial scale for our beauty ingredients has been relatively smooth. We were able to reach a commercial scale for the cosmetics industry thanks to the diverse expertise our team brings together from the synthetic biology, biofuels and food industries,” he concludes.
By Katherine Durrell, with additional reporting by Laxmi Haigh
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.