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In The News: C-16 Biosciences, Mary Kay's CEO, Groupe Berkem new distributor, Evonik / Kensing deal

Biotech innovators are bringing new beauty ingredients to market, while acquisitions, distribution deals, leadership transitions, and brand extensions keep things interesting.

Photo by Dina Nasyrova on Unsplash

C-16 launches Torula Oil 🚫🌴💋 Palmless is the biotech innovator’s new initiative and a platform for partnerships. ‘Palmless’ because Torula Oil is a biodesigned alternative to palm oil. C-16 has, since 2018, been working with yeast and fermentation technology to make microbial oils.

And now this month, the company has completed a 50,000 liter Torula Oil process that promises to make waves in beauty next year. According to a recent LinkedIn post, “Palmless is working with some of the most innovative brands and product manufacturers to clean up ingredient lists in beauty, home care, and food products.” “We’re gearing up to launch first-to-market ingredients that are good for human health and planetary health, bringing our palm oil alternative products to (digital and physical) shelves near you.” Click here to visit

Legacy of Leadership At the start of 2023, Ryan Rogers will begin his tenure as CEO of Mary Kay Inc., the self-described “entrepreneurship development company” founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963. Rodgers is the grandson of Ash and has worked with the beauty maker since 2000, when he came on board as a financial analyst. And he’s held a number of positions since, including Director of Strategic Initiatives, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, and Chief Investment Officer.

“As a young man, my grandmother predicted I would someday lead her company and worked to prepare me by sharing many of her lessons in leadership,” Rogers tells the press. “As usual, Mary Kay was right. I am honored but also energized to have the opportunity to lead my grandmother’s company as we begin our 60th anniversary year.” In the New Year, Rogers’ takes up the legacy of not only Mary Kay Ash but also of the company’s recent leadership. It’s a prospect that he describes as humbling, in this month’s press release announcing his appointment. “Not only because I am following in the footsteps of my grandmother and father, but also because I am following our company’s second most long-serving leader behind Mary Kay herself.” David Holl has been the company’s CEO for close to 30 years and will retire at the end of 2022, continuing on as Board Chairman. “David’s tenure,” says Rogers, “has seen tremendous growth and success for Mary Kay….[his] steady and dedicated hand have kept us on track and lead us to unprecedented growth.”

Plant-based ingredients from Groupe Berkem available in North America A new distribution partnership with Barentz Personal Care brings the Groupe Berkem portfolio of skincare, hair care, and body care ingredients to Canada and the States.

France-based industrial chemistry company Groupe Berkem offers predominantly polyphenols and other extracts as well as floral waters. Commenting for the media, Eric Moussu, Vice President of Sales at Groupe Berkem, explains that “this agreement reflects Berkem’s strategy to expand its geographical presence. Beyond its ability to successfully distribute and grow Berkem’s product range in the US and Canada, Barentz shares the same values, particularly customer focus and service as well as its approach to the personal care and cosmetics market.”

Rodan + Fields takes on hair and scalp care The dermatologist-founded skincare brand launched into the category this month with eight new products for cleansing, conditioning, and styling. Rodan + Fields is, aptly, addressing hair care from a skincare / scalp care perspective.

“We are excited to be able to apply our dermatological expertise to a new category – haircare – to help meet more customer needs with innovation that provides real, visible results” says company Co-Founder Dr. Katie Rodan. And as this month’s press release points out, “healthy hair needs a healthy scalp and care that goes beyond the surface. The R+F Haircare collection takes a scalp-first approach, delivering the right ingredients….Each thoughtfully blended formula contains high-quality, clinically tested skincare and haircare ingredients blended in just the right way and applied in exactly the right order to nourish roots.” Click here to explore Rodan + Fields new hair care line

Evonik sells surfactants & esters business This month, the specialty chemicals leader sold its amphoteric surfactants and specialty esters business to Illinois-based Kensing. With its portfolio of phytosterols, pearlizing agents, and both amphoteric and anionic surfactants, Kensing already serves the cosmetics and personal care marketplace.

The acquired Evonik facility will add to that: “This transaction expands our existing surfactant and specialty esters product offerings,” affirms Serge Rogasik, CEO of Kensing, in his November 1st remarks to the press. Kensing plans to continue growing through acquisition. As Rogasik notes, the Evonik deal is the ingredient maker’s “second add-on acquisition since becoming a standalone company in June 2021.” And, he goes on to say, “We look forward to building on this momentum by actively pursuing additional strategic opportunities aimed at providing our customers with an expanded range of high quality, plant-based products and strengthening our leading position in our core markets.” Kensing serves not only the beauty industry but also the food, supplements, pharma, home care, industrial & institutional cleaning, diagnostics, agrochemicals, and industrial markets as well.


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