Deep diveHealth
SkinBioTherapeutics PLC

SkinBioTherapeutics’ new boss has big plans for SkinBiotix


  • Spun out from OptiBiotix in 2017

  • Harnesses good bacteria to improve and support skin

  • First in-human study showed the cream was well-tolerated and efficacious

  • Ex-Smith & Nephew marketing director SkinBio’s new CEO

woman's face

Quick facts: SkinBioTherapeutics PLC

Price: £0.16

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £20.33 m

I can see everybody having a place for [SkinBiotix-based products] in their daily regime in one shape or another. Why would you not use something that is clinically proven to make you either look or feel better?

Stuart Ashman, chief executive


What it does

The clue is in the name: SkinBioTherapeutics PLC (LON:SBTX) is a Manchester-based life sciences company focused on skin health.

It was spun out from OptiBiotix Health PLC (LON:OPTI) a couple of years ago, and Opti remains the majority shareholder.

SkinBio’s SkinBiotix platform uses lysates (extracts) of probiotic bacteria – the ‘good’ bacteria – and has been shown to improve the barrier effect of skin models, improve repair and reduce bacterial load.

Think of SkinBiotix as the skincare equivalent of Intel or GoreTex: eventually, SkinBio wants to license out the technology so it becomes a key ingredient in products such as skin cream, or tablets or food supplements.

There is a host of other potential uses as well, from handwash to make up to a powder you mix into your coffee.

For the time being, the company is focused on three skincare sectors: cosmetics, infection control and eczema.


How it is doing

The most advanced programme is focused on the application of the SkinBiotix platform in managing sensitive skin in the cosmetics industry.

Data from the first in-human study in April showed that a cream containing SkinBiotix was well tolerated and efficacious in certain age groups and at certain time points.

The readout showed that the under 50s group saw a statistically significant increase in skin hydration at day 15, though at day 29 there was no difference in hydration across all the groups monitored.

There was also a small, but statistically significant decrease in transepidermal water loss – skin dehydration – at day 29 in the over 60s cohort.

“To show efficacy at this stage of development is very exciting since there is a lot of scope for us to further optimise the formulation, potentially altering the dose of the SkinBiotix to make it more suitable for different age groups,” said then chief executive Cath O’Neill, now the group’s chief scientific officer.

In terms of its finances, SkinBio raised £1.5mln from investment manager Seneca Partners earlier this year, meaning it had a relatively healthy £3.1mln of cash in the bank at the end of June.


Blue sky

O’Neill said the results from the first study will act as a “launchpad” for talking to potential licensees who might want to use SkinBiotix in their products.

“Our potential [commercial] partners have said that provided the technology if safe…everything else can be sorted out by formulation,” she told Proactive.

“We already knew it was safe because there have been no adverse effects reported…but to show efficacy on top of that is stellar”.

Taking over from O’Neill as SkinBio’s CEO is Stuart Ashman, a “commercial man” who was previously one of the top marketing guys at medical devices giant Smith & Nephew PLC (LON:SN.).

He only formally took up his role at the beginning of July but has already been busy progressing those “advanced” commercial discussions originally started by his predecessor.

As you’d perhaps expect, Ashman is extremely bullish about SkinBiotix’s future and the potential for it to be used in a wide range of products.

“I can honestly see this touching just about everybody’s life on the planet,” he said in an interview with Proactive.

“I can see everybody having a place for [SkinBiotix-based products] in their daily regime in one shape or another. Why would you not use something that is clinically proven to make you either look or feel better?”

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