L’Oréal has signed a license agreement with Micreos, a Dutch biotech company specializing in biological therapies based on phage [1] and endolysin [2] technology. The French group aims to develop new cosmetic solutions targeting the skin microbiome, the community of bacteria and microorganisms that live on the skin.

Under the terms of the agreement, Micreos will give L’Oréal access to one of its endolysins of interest in the cosmetic field. “With this technology, it is possible for the first time to target only unwanted bacteria in the skin flora - responsible for many skin problems - while sparing the good ones,” explains L’Oréal in a statement.

Targeting specific bacterial species

Micreos’ pharma development program includes endolysins that target Staphylococcus bacteria, which cause or aggravate a broad range of health issues, including skin conditions. The company recently enrolled the first patients in a Phase I/IIa, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel treated dose-ranging study to assess the safety and efficacy of their endolysin XZ.700 in patients with mild to moderate atopic dermatitis. The study marks the world’s first evaluation of a pharmaceutical endolysin for topical use in humans.

"The targeted removal of one particular bacterial species, S. aureus, from the skin microbiome, while preserving the beneficial ones is a fundamental new way to treat atopic dermatitis," explains dermatologist Dr. Peter Lio, Scientific Advisor for Micreos and Scientific Advisory Board member for the American National Eczema Association.

XZ.700 is Micreos’ endolysin in pharmaceutical development which targets S. aureus, including the antibiotic-resistant MRSA, while preserving Staphylococcus epidermidis, considered to be beneficial on the skin and conducive to wound healing. XZ.700 is one of several endolysins Micreos has in its portfolio. A structurally similar endolysin, SA.100, is used in the company’s over the counter (OTC) products for inflammatory skin disorders (e.g. acne and rosacea), in particular the Gladskin range, which has been on the European market since 2013 and was launched in the USA in January this year.

"The agreement with Micreos opens up a very promising field in high-tech cosmetics," says Laurent Attal, Executive Vice-President Research & Innovation of L’Oréal.