L'Oréal’s tech Incubator is joining forces with uBiome, a Silicon Valley-based microbiome research venture. The partnership was announced at L'Oréal's "Know Your Skin" exhibit at The Fast Company Grill in Austin, Texas.
Through this partnership, the two companies intend to conduct new research on the skin's bacterial ecosystem with a goal of offering deeper skin insights to uBiome's global community while informing future product development at L'Oréal.
"When it comes to skincare, people often audition product after product to determine what works for their unique skin. At L'Oréal, our goal is to advance scientific research and leverage new technologies to change this relationship, by allowing deeper levels of personalization," says Guive Balooch, Vice President of L'Oréal's Technology Incubator, an arm of L'Oréal's Research & Innovation Division, in a news release. "The microbiome has major implications for skin's overall appearance and health. With the global reach of uBiome's community of citizen scientists, our two companies will be able to extend our respective research in this space, and better understand the interplay between bacterial diversity and skin health."
"So many clues about our overall health come from the amazing world of microorganisms," adds Jessica Richman, co-founder and CEO of uBiome. "L'Oréal is an ideal partner for uBiome as it has had a strong focus in scientific innovation in this space for years. Their expertise, combined with uBiome's advanced understanding of the skin microbiome will allow us to pave the way for the future of personalized skin care."
L'Oréal began exploring the skin microbiome over a decade ago and has published 50 papers on the subject since 2006. L'Oréal's findings include the link between microbiome, skin barrier function, and immune responses as well as the evolution of the microbiome on aging skin. This collective research has contributed to the launch of several skincare products across L'Oréal's Active Cosmetics Division—including the brands La Roche-Posay and Vichy—since 2013.
"In the past several years, L'Oréal's research into skin microbiome has accelerated thanks to new genomic technologies and big data analysis," says Luc Aguilar, a research director in L'Oréal's Research and Innovation division. "A major finding from our research shows that skin disorders, much like gut ones, are often linked to a problem of microbial imbalance. Good proportions of each microorganism are key to ensuring skin health."
uBiome, which was founded in 2012 by Stanford-, Oxford-, and UCSF-educated researchers, uses advanced technology to analyze human microbiome. The company, which has the world's largest database of human microbiomes, has seven issued patents and 250 pending patents. uBiome's platform, which includes four kits designed for at-home sampling—SmartGut, the world's first sequencing-based clinical microbiome test; SmartJane, the first sequencing-based women's health screening test; and Explorer and Explorer Plus, a health and wellness product to understand the role that food and lifestyle can play in wellness—has been used by hundreds of thousands of consumers, patients, and doctors and more than 200 research institutions around the world.