Being born, growing, reproducing, aging. The course of life, no matter how much it be known by all, is still a reason of concern for many, particularly its last stage. From some moment in our lives, aging comes to be a concern that is often avoided and deferred at all costs — but what if we could give it a new meaning?
2Future Holding accepted the challenge to transform how we perceive aging and is supporting OneSkin, a Brazilian start-up that will revolutionize this process through biotechnology.
Aging is not just an aesthetic issue
Life expectancy has increasingly lengthened in these last years thanks to the development of technology but, though a positive aspect, it is necessary to think about the other side of aging. According to data publicized by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the number of people above 65 years of age in Brazil currently represents 9.52% of its population and in two decades it will rise to 17.01%.
It is not at random that many try to imagine how it is to age, today there are even photo applications that mime aging. Not just getting wrinkles, aging represents more than an aesthetic change through which all pass. Instituto Locomotiva has made an intensive research in Brazil to collect data on the theme and presented some interesting results. Around 25% of Brazilians point out changes in the body as their main fear when the matter is aging.
The second concern is lack of money (20%), followed by solitude (18%), and feeling of being useless (14%). Furthermore, the research has also informed that 74% of interviewees had witnessed some form of discrimination against people advanced in years. Reading between the lines, the research shows that the effects of aging go much further than appearance.
OneSkin: Redefining aging
Changing people’s conception about what is aging seems to be an almost impossible task, but it is the kind of challenge which made Carolina Oliveira, from Minas Gerais, Brazil, go until Silicon Valley with the objective of undertaking that idea.
From a new developed molecule, the team of OneSkin produced a compound to rejuvenate the skin. “Since we have the expertise to grow human skin in a laboratory, we can show a reversion of aging”, explains CEO Carolina. “Perhaps in the future we can develop a systemic therapy for aging as a whole and be able to look at aging without thinking of its pains, but of its fruits”.
Much further than decelerating marks which time makes on human skin, OneSkin seeks to extend the time people live in health and prevent diseases associated with aging. “Our objective is to understand the process of aging and to identify which is the root of the problem, where we can act in order that we be able to revert this process”, explains its CEO.
An idea which grew in Silicon Valley
In 2014, by the end of her Doctoral course at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Carolina joined two other friends who were not contented with living on researches. “The idea was to produce human cells from stem cells with the objective of stopping to perform tests on animals, but we stayed in Brazil and didn’t find the ideal support in the area of biotechnology”, she comments.
Due to the financial crisis which started in the country, that year was one which proved to be difficult for whom wished to undertake — particularly on segments of technology and innovation. The same happened in Portugal. That was when they decided to take the idea further and look for resources in Silicon Valley, which harbours technology start-ups and big enterprises from all over the world.
Carolina had then a simple insight, though crucial to undertake OneSkin: reconstructing human skin in a laboratory. “Through the cells we take from human skin, we can create a cell bank and replicate a structurally similar skin”, she explains. In this way, researches and tests can be made without depending on human skin biopsies.
From that idea, OneSkin assumed the role of being an enterprise with a focus on longevity and came to study how to revert the process of aging. With support by accelerator Indie Bio and holding 2Future, the enterprise was born with a proposal which will reverberate on how we perceive skin science, beauty aesthetics, cosmetology and longevity.
The future of antiaging products
In an environment surrounded by researchers and scientists from various corners of the world, the team of OneSkin moved to a laboratory with high-technology equipment and infrastructure. In the whole are 40 biotechnology start-ups developing state-of-the-art science for the development of therapies of cancer, Alzheimer, Parkinson and other degenerative diseases.
A product is currently at a stage of tests in the United States and OneSkin is in this moment recruiting candidates to experiment the technology developed by it. “We are going to start by launching a product directly for the consumer. We come with this proposal of really delivering longevity and life quality, that is, delivering a concept that rejuvenating is being healthy and not just appearance”, explains its CEO.
Parallelly, the team of scientists of the start-up validates other researches on aging-related diseases. Considering this, OneSkin has called up a challenge. With the objective of fomenting its research in Brazil and prospecting partnerships, the start-up announced a US$ 10 thousand prize to researchers or enterprises which would introduce relevant compounds, products or researches for the antiaging segment.
The winner was a Brazilian enterprise incubated at the University of Campinas (Unicamp). Rubian Extratos developed an antioxidant complex from passion fruit seed technology, sequentially, capable of obtaining bioactive extracts. This should be added to future innovations which OneSkin shall bring with its products.
Future of OneSkin
Currently the team of OneSkin comprises eight persons, five in San Francisco, two in Brazil, and one in Los Angeles — but it won’t stop at that. The idea is expanding the technology developed by OneSkin to Brazil and the rest of the world.
As other start-ups and enterprises within 2Future, OneSkin is an undertaking which yearns for the future and will bring great changes to the world. “I see that our technology can reach the home of millions of people and I expect to impact the world with our product”, tells Carolina. “Living with plenitude: that is the mark which I see OneSkin leaving on the world”.