Startups Meet Pharma Cohort 2020: The Beiersdorf challenge

Challenge #2 is reserved for Beiersdorf and their quest for new solutions to improve the condition of diabetic skin.

Sixteen startups from Germany, Austria, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Finland, Greece, Spain, Estonia and Israel have been selected for the Startups Meet Pharma 2020 cohort. This year, five challenges have been released in collaboration with four EIT Health Partners: Amgen, Bayer, Beiersdorf and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Let’s take a closer look at Challenge#2: Improving the condition of diabetic skin.

The International Diabetes Federation indicates that more than 415 million adults worldwide have diabetes. It also predicts that by 2040 that figure will rise to 642 million. The disease has far-reaching consequences for the whole body, including the skin. As the body tries to excrete the excess sugar via urine it loses water and skin dries out. In addition, reduced blood circulation and sugar induced skin stress in diabetic patients often lead to difficult skin condition like Xerosis (dry, itchy skin) sometimes followed by secondary bacterial or fungal infections.

Currently most dermocosmetic products designed for diabetic skin relieve the symptoms but do not improve the underlying cause. For that reason, Beiersdorf is seeking for solutions which can be directly applied in dermocosmetic products or concepts and target the underlying causes of diabetic skin, ranging from improving blood circulation, reduction of AGEs (Advanced glycation end products) and their negative influence on the skin, reduction of itch or beyond. The company is open for proposals from the areas of cosmetic / pharmaceutical ingredients, modern formulations, devices, or digital approaches to perceivably improve the skin situation of people with diabetes.

A total of 10 applications were received for the challenge, and two were selected to move forward: Synoia Technologies LTD from Israel and MyLife Technologies BV from Netherlands.

Here is a sneak peak into their solutions:

Synoia Technologies LTD

Your solution to the challenge:  The solution we are offering is a handheld battery-operated device with multiple technologies and a one-time capsule containing active ingredients formulated according to the specific treatment and skin condition. The device is generating a magnetic field helping the blood circulation and acting as power source for different technology heads that can be easily attached to the handle. Different technology heads are available, each for designated purpose, such as skin rejuvenation (Red phototherapy) ,wrinkle reduction (Micro Current), or problematic and sensitive skin (Blue light). The flexible design enables other heads to be developed and used with the same system. Various treatment capsules have already been developed to treat the skin, depending on the application.

What makes it a good fit? The technologies integrated into our product have shown good results in clinical tests done with competitive devices utilizing similar technologies. Each of these competitors use a single technology, such as magnetic field, photo therapy or micro current, while we integrate multiple technologies and energies into a single treatment, improving the chances of a better treatment. Our major difference is the use of the skin care products within our unique capsules, making the treatment a full solution combining both energy and products at the same time, improving the expected results from each component if used separately.

Major expectations from the programme:  We expect to increase our presence in the European market, so more companies and partners will have access to our products and technologies. In particular, we hope to benefit from the direct communication with the pharma companies and to gain two major outcomes: A) Mutual R&D activities – our technology is a platform, that can support different energy sources and different type of ingredients, and working together with the pharma company on next generation products, additional capsules and applications can be a huge advantage. B) Commercialization and access to market with the pharma company, benefiting from the marketing capabilities and global presence.

Long-term vision for your startup: Our long-term vision is to bring our treatment method and capsules to every home, duplicating the “Nespresso” capsule business model and market acceptance in the coffee segment for the skin care segment. There is a clear trend of moving from professional skin care done by an aesthetician to home use devices and products, now days even stronger due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we have the perfect match for that trend, and with the right global partner this vision can be a reality.


MyLife Technologies BV

Your solution to the challenge:  We offer micro array patches for dermal drug delivery.

What makes it a good fit? Bacterial and fungus infections in (diabetic) skin are difficult to reach with gels, creams and ointments (insufficient penetration depth). Microneedle arrays reach into deeper layers and should allow to effectively treat bacterial and fungus infections. Microneedle technology is very suitable (among others) for local skin treatments. MyLife Technologies micro array patches are nanoporous and offer the highest drug load capacity in the market of micro array patches.

Major expectations from the programme: Our main objective is to start collaborations with major pharma companies from the SMP program.

Long-term vision for your startup: A) Expand dermal drug delivery and B) Outlicense our technology for different applications.