Five minutes at Sepawa with …
H&PC: How is going business for SILAB?
Mélanie Coirier: Thanks to the quality of our products and the trust of our customers, we are continually growing, expanding and gaining market shares. We got a two-digits growth for several years now.
H&PC: Is there anything specific in your approach to R&D that helped such a successful growth?
MC: Yes. We have a lot of collaboration with academia. Science is part of the SILAB’s DNA, and we have been building a strong research network for many years, in France and abroad. We publish discoveries in peer-reviewed high-impact journals such as JID and Experimental Dermatology. We invest a lot in R&D – about one third of our staff and 20% of our sales are dedicated to R&D each year.
H&PC: And all this investment gets rewarded, I hear.
MC: Indeed! We just won two awards in Brazil for Hairgenyl, September this year: 1st prize for the ITEHPEC Innovation Award and the Silver for the Innovation Zone Best Active Ingredient Award, organized by Reed Exhibition. This product is the result of a three-fold innovation. First, to test Hairgenyl, SILAB developed its own 2D and 3D cell and tissue culture models, mimicking androgenetic alopecia. Second, the results have shown that it does not only stop hair loss, but it also triggers hair regrowth. 100% of the people who tested this product during development, indeed, told us that they would like to continue using it! Third, the origin: Hairgenyl is a natural active ingredient from biotechnological origin. The key organism is the yeast Pichia minuta. We process it in our own biotechnology production unit, and this way we can ensure the traceability, quality and safety of our raw material.
H&PC: Since you won in South America, is this a market you are interested in?
MC: We are present there with a subsidiary since 2012, and the hair care market in South America is significant. We had a big recognition by winning these awards in South America, since they are experts in hair care products.
H&PC: As a biotechnological company, do you also offer skin probiotics?
MC: SILAB manufactures active ingredients, we do not manufacture probiotics. However we have a line of products dedicated to activate and modulate the skin ecosystem, so this is how we play in this respect. We can provide physical protection against “bad” bacteria, for example with Filmexel, which acts like a “second skin”. We have a line of products dedicated to immune defense, restoring the natural defenses of the skin.
H&PC: What trends do you identify in the demand for cosmetic ingredients?
MC: We see a trend towards naturality: this is the current main focus for many customers. Regarding this, all of our products have natural origins, whether vegetal or biotechnological. SILAB has been an expert in mastering nature for more than 30 years. In addition, we are now launching products in powder form free of preservatives. Another trend we see is the medicalization of beauty: the line between medical and cosmetics is becoming thinner and thinner. SILAB recently launched a new department, SILAB Softcare, aiming at caring for compromised skin. As a result, we specifically developed AD-Resyl, a natural product to treat atopic dermatitis.
H&PC: What is your plan for the future?
Our focus for next year is on two main points. First, innovation: we are launching five to six new innovative products every year. Second, international reach. At the moment we have 60% of our sales tied to export, and we aim to bring this number to 70%. We are confident that we will continue on the same path. Our goal is to double our sales in five years.