China Beauty Trends: Race to Recombinant Collagen just Beginning

Winning in Efficacy, Welcome the Future. On September 22, the 5th Conference on China’s Cosmetics Trends, hosted by CHAILEEDO, was held in Hangzhou with the theme of “Winning in Efficacy”. During the conference, Duan Zhiguang, Senior Vice President of Giant Biogene, presented the keynote speech “Ingredient Innovation for Efficacy-Focused Cosmetic Brands”.

The following is the transcript of the speech.

My sharing concluded three aspects. Firstly, introducing our company Giant Biogene. Secondly, introducing recombinant collagen. Thirdly, introducing the efficacy of recombinant collagen.

Giant Biogene is a company focused on efficacy skincare products, medical dressings, skin revitalization products, biomedical materials, functional foods and special medical use formulations. Our synthetic biology technology platform has two core technologies: recombinant collagen biomanufacturing technology and highly active rare ginsenoside biomanufacturing technology.

Our company’s star brands under the name of Kefumei, Collgene, Keyu, Kehen, Kefuping, Liyan, SKIGIN and Can’gan, among which Can’gan is involved in the health field. All these research work of our company is done on the basis of many scientific research platforms, such as National -Local Engineering Research Center, postdoctoral research workstation, academician expert workstation, etc.

After more than 20 years of development, we have achieved some success. Giant Biogene is now the pioneer and leader in the industry of professional skincare products based on bioactive ingredients in China. We have been able to produce 33 kinds of recombinant collagen and more than 10 kinds of rare ginsenosides using synthetic biology technology.

We are the second largest producer of professional skin care products in China by retail sales in 2021, as well as the largest collagen-based professional skincare company in China for three consecutive years since 2019. Our flagship brands of recombinant collagen, Collgene and Kefumei, are also the third and fourth best-selling brands in the professional skincare products industry in China in 2021. Also, Giant Biogene is the first company in the world to achieve mass production of recombinant collagen skincare products, and the first company in China to obtain a medical device registration certificate for recombinant collagen.

Next, let’s talk about recombinant collagen

1.What is collagen?

Before talking about recombinant collagen, I will give a brief introduction to collagen. Collagen is a particularly important type of protein in animals, including mammals, and is highly abundant in animals, as well as an important part of the extracellular matrix. The basic unit of collagen in humans, for example, is a triple helix molecule formed by three alpha chains. It is solid and insoluble in water. The molecular weight of one molecule of collagen is about 300 kDa. These collagen molecules are interwoven into a net-like structure and intertwined with elastin and some polysaccharides to form a skin rejuvenation state, making the skin firm and elastic.

There are many uses for collagen, and protein materials represented by collagen are important for people’s livelihood and national defense. Our country’s “Made in China 2025” action plan includes functional proteins in the 9th item of biomedical and high performance medical devices and the 10th item of new materials. Collagen is the material with the lowest immune rejection and the best biocompatibility among all protein materials that we have found so far.

2.Advantages of using synthetic biology technology to obtain collagen

Faced with such a good material, our first thought was how to get it. Early on we used collagen from animals or human body. But these two options are not perfect.

In this case, the best way is to use synthetic biology. We have been doing this field for more than 20 years and have accumulated some experience. Although the concept of synthetic biology was proposed by the French as early as 1910, it has become widely-known in the past few years. I believe there is still a group of Chinese researchers who are dedicated to technology and have been continuously researching in the field of synthetic biology. But from the present results, there are not so many yet, because there are high technical barriers in this industry.

I will focus on the following three types of recombinant collagen. The first type of recombinant collagen is fragment repetition and fragment splicing, for example, the efficacy of the fragment from type I and type III can be spliced and combined, so that two functions can be achieved at the same time, or three functions at the same time. We have a total of 25 kinds in this type of recombinant collagen. In the second category, we have expressed full-length type I, type II and type III recombinant collagen (alpha chain) from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces cerevisiae respectively, which is a core ingredients for us to develop more medical products in the future.

In addition, in the field of beauty, especially in the field of skincare, we are more concerned about whether collagen can be absorbed transdermally and how it is absorbed by the skin, so we also made the third type of recombinant collagen, which is some efficacy fragments. In this case, a small molecule can carry a large molecule into the skin through a non-covalent bond through formulation system optimization and supramolecular technology.

Giant Biogene has launched the brands Kefumei and Collgene, and has now been working in this field for more than 20 years. Our products are sold in more than 1,000 public hospitals, more than 1,700 private hospitals, and more than 300 chain brand pharmacies in China. Our products also cover mainstream e-commerce platforms, including Tmall, TikTok China, JD, Xiaohongshu, and Pinduoduo, etc.

We believe that more and more companies are entering the sector of recombinant collagen. With the continuous progress of technology, it will become larger and lower in cost, which will surely benefit consumers in the end. I also believe that with so many excellent companies walking together, the future beauty market will definitely get better and better.

Q&A: What are the future trends of application on recombinant collagen?

Duan Zhiguang: I think the most application should be the medical field, such as medical devices. Currently the recombinant collagen is applied in artificial bone, including some bone powder and some injectable products. The injection products are very good from the market, and we expect it will become a stronger growth point for the company in the future (the moderator added: this is concluded Class III medical device). There will be new brands of Class III devices in the future.

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