BIS Research would like to thank all for attending the webinar on skin microbiome with Larry Weiss, CEO and Founder at Persona Biome and Dr. Eva Berkes, CSO and Co-founder at Quorum Innovations. During the webinar, insights related to new product types in the microbiome industry, new market opportunities and new developments taking place in the industry, were shared with the attendees. Several questions were addressed to the speakers, some of which are listed below.
Do you think that probiotic products influencing the skin microbiome will be able to replicate the mass domination by chemical-infused products currently available?
Larry: That may possible be true, however, that will depend on a number of unknown factors. The use of bacterial lysates and extracts (postbiotics) as cosmetic ingredients has a long history and the ingredient suppliers continue to be active in their development. Hence, we can safely say that this trend will continue. This will further accelerate if and when they deliver real results to the customers. The same holds true for prebiotics – essentially selective or semi-selective “microbiome food” ingredients. On the other hand, real probiotics, live cells, are technically very challenging to stabilize, formulate, and bring to market and hence it is much harder to predict their future. As the complex concepts behind the science of the microbiome penetrate the cosmetic marketplace and are translated into marketing, we may see a convergence between real efficacy and marketing.
What is the difference between Microbiome and Microbiota?
Larry: This is a semantic debate with a history going back to 1988. The current trend is to use the term “microbiome” to refer to all of the microorganisms including their genetic material. For an interesting discussion of this, visit https://thewinnower.com/papers/what-does-the-term-microbiome-mean-and-where-did-it-come-from-a-bit-of-a-surprise
How can we systematically understand the body site-specific personalized microbiome with such a diversity across the population?
Larry: In my opinion, this is still a research problem. The only way to do this with any degree of accuracy is with well-designed clinical trials that take subject phenotype, medical history, and product history into account. The role of individual microbiome diversity is immensely more complicated since the tools for sampling and characterizing microbiome diversity on the skin are expensive, are subject to multiple biases, and have yet to be standardized even within a single lab with a trained operator doing the collection. Small (20-30 subjects), brief cosmetic “marketing” studies (30 days or less) without a good control group are common today but contribute little to our understanding of what works and for whom.
What do you assume would be the application of NGS for the skin microbiome market? What could be a probable future for this?
Eva: Application of NGS to the skin microbiome market could be an exciting area of personalized “cosmetics” or personalized medicine, depending on the desired claim. For instance, one could use a microbiome INCI to increase a skin microbiome Cutibacterial population in an older woman concerned about dry, aged-appearing skin. On the other hand, NGS used alone still gives a somewhat 1-dimensional view of the state of the skin barrier, and is best used with other techniques: metabolomics, proteomics and real-time functional skin assessment. These additional methods unfortunately drive up cost and have inherent practical limitations.
Which skin-related diseases, could be lucrative opportunities to invest upon to bolster skin microbiome market?
Eva: There are the often-mentioned targets of atopic dermatitis and acne, and although microbial targets remain less defined for psoriasis, which remains an enticing target. However, the mycobiome should not be forgotten. Very common fungal diseases such as onychomyosis, tinea and candidiasis are underdeveloped areas.
In the coming future, do you see digital phenotypic information related to skin, being used for microbiome therapeutic prescription?
Eva: By digital phenotypic information, I will assume you mean quantifiable data gathered in situ by the participant/consumer via personal digital device, most likely to be a smartphone. Certainly, I expect this type of information to be used in the microbiome field. It is already being used to gather data in the pharma field. Adding to this technology, the many home sample collection kits and devices already being used in the microbiome field enables one to readily imagine a “virtual” microbiome clinical trial.
In case you missed the webinar, it is available on demand. To view the recording of the webinar. Click here