French biotech, Microphyt, a pioneer in microalgae-based natural solutions for nutrition and well-being, has announced a Serie B fundraising of EUR 15 million to accelerate both the new products development and the commercialization of the product portfolio as well as to increase their production capabilities.

This investment was led by L’Oréal through its venture capital fund BOLD Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development and supported by Microphyt’s current investors Bpifrance, through the “Sociétés de Projets Industriels” fund (“SPI fund”), Sofinnova Partners, IXO-Private Equity, Supernova Partners, IRDI and Sofilaro.

Founded in 2007 and based in the city Baillargues, in the south of France, Microphyt has developed an innovative and low carbon process to produce microalgae - microscopic plant organisms used in cosmetics, among other fields, for their active properties and functional qualities. Thanks to this patented process, which allows to control of natural stimuli (such as light, salt, nutrients, temperature variation, etc.), Microphyt is able to produce, on a large scale, a wide variety of microalgae.

In addition, Microphyt operates an integrated platform that transforms the microalgae into natural and renewable ingredients for the nutrition, well-being and beauty markets.

Specific solutions for cosmetics

Over the last 18 months, Microphyt has launched three innovative active ingredients in cosmetics and has started the commercialization of its first two patented ingredients in nutrition on the American market of food supplements. According to the company, its cosmetic actives ingredients like Renouvellance, Luteana and Phycosi are increasingly used by cosmetic brands worldwide.

In addition of its own development roadmap, Microphyt will partner with L’Oréal to develop and produce specific microalgae-based solutions for cosmetics, hence contributing to L’Oréal’s corporate objective that 95% of its ingredients will be bio-sourced, derived from abundant minerals or from circular processes by 2030.

L’Oréal and Microphyt will build a technological platform and will bring material and human resources together to create raw materials from microalgae . The ambition of both companies is to establish a long-term partnership for the development of new cosmetic solutions. “Our ambition with Microphyt is to collectively develop responsible innovations on a large scale and make them available to as many people as possible,” said Anne Colonna, General Manager Advanced Research, L’Oréal.

We are delighted with this partnership with L’Oréal, which is fully in line with Microphyt’s ambition to give the largest number of people access to natural solutions drawn from microalgae," says Vincent Usache, Managing Director of Microphyt. “The technological platform in an ‘extended lab’ mode is perfectly complementary to our own activities. With L’Oréal, this new technological platform will help us speed up the development of eco-designed ingredients, as well as facilitate the scale-up of our production.

Microphyt is one of the rare companies in the sector who have been able to reach a level of commercial and industrial maturity enabling them to deliver on the promise of industrial biotechnology and this partnership with L’Oréal confirms the potential of the responsible use of marine biodiversity for its cosmetic and nutraceutical customers.

Our ambition is to collaborate across the world with the most disruptive scientific entities in Green Sciences, in order to collectively develop responsible innovations on a large scale and make them available to as many people as possible,” highlighted Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO, in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology, L’Oréal Group. “We are very pleased to pursue this new partnership with Microphyt, which will enable us, thanks to its unique natural solutions derived from microalgae, to further accelerate our drive towards more sustainable beauty.