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CP Kelco and ExoPolymer To Bring Next-Gen Functional Biopolymers to Personal Care Market

Initial push of partnership is to scale up production of polysaccharide-based biopolymers for high-end skincare formulations.


By: Christine Esposito

CP Kelco and ExoPolymer To Bring Next-Gen Functional Biopolymers to Personal Care Market

CP Kelco, a leading provider of nature-based ingredient solutions that is owned by J.M. Huber Corporation, and ExoPolymer, Inc., a biotechnology startup company focused on developing new polysaccharide-based biopolymers, have formed a partnership to develop and commercialize a portfolio of new functional ingredients for the personal care industry and beyond.

The initial focus of this partnership will be to scale up production of ExoPolymer’s first product, a polysaccharide-based biopolymer to be used in high-end, skin care formulations for hydration, anti-aging, and anti-wrinkle performance. In partnership with CP Kelco, ExoPolymer plans to offer an improved alternative to hyaluronic acid that is highly effective, animal-free, genetic modification-free, safe and derived from plant feedstocks.

ExoPolymer’s mission is to create new, sustainable and highly upgraded functional and active ingredients to satisfy a wide range of existing and emerging market needs. It is one of the first industrial biotechnology startup companies to develop a completely new portfolio of polysaccharide-based biopolymer ingredients for markets such as personal care, healthcare and home care, for which sustainability has become an increasingly important characteristic to consumers and performance of currently available biopolymers is lacking.

In addition to its commitment to sustainability across its operations, CP Kelco brings robust capabilities in fermentation technology, manufacturing, quality control and commercialization to the new partnership. For approximately 90 years, CP Kelco has collaborated with many of the world’s leading food and beverage manufacturers to formulate innovative products that meet key texture and stability requirements while addressing consumer needs and preferences.

“Partnering with CP Kelco at this early stage is exceptionally valuable for ExoPolymer,” said Dr. Derek Wells, founder and CEO of ExoPolymer. “Their decades of industry leadership, experience in producing biopolymer ingredients, and understanding what it takes to scale a fermentation process substantially de-risk our path to commercial success. As we explore new and valuable functionalities of our technology, CP Kelco’s production capabilities and market reach will allow us to commercialize needed products at a heightened pace. We look forward to teaming up with them.”

“We are delighted to partner with ExoPolymer to introduce a portfolio of new and unique ingredients to the marketplace,” said Didier Viala, president of CP Kelco. “The personal care  segment and the broader CPG industry offer exciting opportunities for fermentation-derived ingredients that can deliver existing or new functional benefits in a more sustainable and/or more cost-effective way.”

“The ExoPolymer toolbox and approach are well complemented by CP Kelco’s industrialization and commercialization capabilities, making this collaboration a natural fit,” added Viala.
Beyond the personal care market, both companies plan to develop new ingredients which target existing and emerging needs in strategic areas for CP Kelco and to leverage their complementary capabilities to accelerate commercialization of ExoPolymer’s innovation pipeline. For example, polysaccharide-based biopolymer ingredients deliver a range of important benefits in food and beverage products and provide key functionality in alternative protein-based products. New and improved products derived from fermentation will be important in enabling the transition to more abundant animal-free products to feed the planet.

“CP Kelco pioneered the manufacture of carbohydrate ingredients by precision fermentation, and ExoPolymer is bringing an entirely new generation of these products to the market,” said
Dr. Doug Cameron, advisory board member at ExoPolymer. “Given the market need for next- generation performance and the challenges for startups in navigating production efficiency, capacity and scale, this partnership makes strategic sense for both organizations.” 

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