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In The News: metabolomics for beauty innovators and high-tech TCM

CosmosID is helping beauty innovators better understand the human skin microbiome; Green Mountain Biotech and MeNow team up to see what's possible when AI is applied to ingredients used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

swan in silhouette floating on water, bare branches in the foreground
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

🦠⛏Microbiome Data Mining

Laboratory services company CosmosID just added metabolomics capabilities to support the research of customers in nutrition, agriculture, animal health, biopharma, and academics as well as partners in the cosmetics and personal care industry.

When we talk about the human skin microbiome is beauty, we’re commonly talking about a wide array of microbes that live symbiotically on our skin: archaea, bacteria, eukaryotes, protozoa, and viruses. And much of the time we’re talking about particular strains of various bacteria species and their relationship to skin condition. But of course there is a lot more to learn and understand about this microenvironment than taxonomy and population numbers of bacteria can tell us.

Metabolomics can help us realize some of those learnings. Metabolomics is the identification, classification, and quantification of the metabolites within cells and organisms. Metabolites are the substrates and products of metabolism. Observing and exploring metabolomics data will expand our understanding of the human skin microbiome. Or as Manoj Dadlani, CEO of CosmosID, explains it, “Capturing full details of the microbiome will drive translational research.”

“Knowing the metabolite profile of each sample is important to understand the microbiome as a system,” notes Dadlani, in this month’s press release announcing the company’s new metabolomics services. “By combining the CosmosID industry leading strain-level microbiome resolution and functional analysis with metabolite profiling, insight into the microbiome's functionality and role will be enhanced,” he says, adding that, “We believe this approach yields more actionable microbiome research and helps us link observations from microbiome studies with biological mechanisms.”

Renowned environmental microbiologist Dr Rita Colwell founded CosmosID in 2008 and is now company Chairman. Colwell served as Director of the National Science Foundation, received both the International Prize for Biology and the National Medal of Science for Biological Sciences; she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2005. Colwell is author of several books, including A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science; and she’s (co)authored more than 800 scientific publications.

“There is no question,” she says, in her remarks to the press this month, “that understanding the interplay amongst all components of the microbiome is essential to advance our knowledge of microbial systems. However, we need to understand functional relationships between and among strains comprising the microbiome. Being able to understand their function brings us closer to knowing what drives a microbiome in its natural environment.”

🔬🌿High-Tech TCM

Artificial Intelligence is advancing skincare ingredient development thanks to a new partnership between Green Mountain Biotech and MeNow, a supply-side beauty tech venture out of Israel.

MeNow was founded by Coralie Ebert, PhD, and Hilla Ben-Hamo Arbel, PhD in 2021, and specializes in leveraging AI (and related technologies) to predict the effects and benefits of beauty ingredients. “By understanding the molecular structure of the products and integrating millions of data points, MeNow aims to improve skin health worldwide by helping design better cosmetic formulations and providing a platform for personalized recommendations that ensures that each and every product respects the user's skin biology,” according to an About statement included in this month’s press release announcing the partnership with Green Mountain Biotech (GMB).

GMB also got its start in 2021 and is also headquartered in Israel. The skincare ingredient maker specializes in merging the benefits of botanicals used in Traditional Chinese Medicine with the potentials of contemporary biology, chemistry, and dermatology. The ‘green mountain’ in the company name is Qing Cheng a mountain in Sichuan, China, that is said to be quite biodiverse, comprising more than 2,500 botanicals.

The GMB-MeNow partnership project input TCM botanicals for analysis by the MeNow algorithms. And the algorithms predicted the effect of not only individual herbs and other plants on various skin conditions, but also the effect of botanical blends. MeNow tech also helps predict market potential of these herbs and botanical blends.

“This project marks the beginning of a new era in the world of cosmetics,” says MeNow CEO Dr Hilla Ben-Hamo. “No one before has combined the latest innovation of deep-learning technologies with traditional medicinal plants to discover brand-new formulations and it is thrilling to be at the forefront,” she says in this month’s release.

Dr Yonit Bomstein, Co-Founder and Head of R&D at GMB sees AI-assisted ingredient development as a valuable tool that can help move skincare forward: “The results shed new light into mechanisms of action leading to development of potent herbal treatments, offering new solutions for people suffering from life-impacting skin issues.”

“We are confident,” she says, “that we will be able to leverage the data generated in this amazing project to develop and introduce new lines of innovative and potent dermocosmetic products to the market.”


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