The Fountain of Youth May Be Just Around the Corner In Vancouver
Sirona Biochem makes safer and more effective cosmeceuticals
Vancouver-based Sirona Biochem is on track to crack the global market for skin lightening products, a market that has been predicted by Global Industry Analysts to hit US$23 billion by 2020. If that isn’t enough the company is also developing a product designed to forestall facial aging. Zion Market Research pegs the global anti-aging market at US$216.52 billion by 2021. The Company’s skin lightening products are far safer and far more effective than those which are currently on the market.
In hindsight it is not that surprising that Vancouver is becoming a hotbed of discovery when it comes to turning back the ravages of time. Botox as we know it today for the cosmetics industry, after all, was popularized in Vancouver by the husband and wife team of ophthalmologist Jean Carruthers and dermatologist Alistair Carruthers. They discovered that a toxin named botox helped eradicate the lines and wrinkles caused by aging.
Sirona Biochem Corp. (TSX-V:SBM) is a discovery and development stage biochem company that has developed a proprietary way to treat carbohydrate molecules using fluorination chemistry. This process prevents molecules from breaking down when exposed to enzymes. This now opens the door to developing a new field of therapeutics.
The company also has an anti-aging product based on synthesizing the glycoprotein found in the blood serum of Antarctic water fish and is currently in the testing and validation stage. The glycoprotein helps preserve the fish and its cells from the freezing water. When applied to humans, it helps prevent skin cells from dying, and also protects them from the harsh glare of ultra-violet radiation.
The good news for Sirona, however, doesn’t stop there. The company believes their stabilized carbohydrate molecules have applications in the treatment of cancer, pain, diabetes and inflammation. Sirona has developed an SGLT2 inhibitor as a Type 2 Diabetes treatment. Research and consulting firm Global Data has predicted that the global type 2 diabetes market will almost double from US$31.2 billion in 2015 to US58.7 billion by 2025.
SGLT2 inhibitors are a recent development in the fight against Type 2 diabetes. Most traditional diabetes treatments work by controlling insulin production or regulating blood sugar levels. SGLT2 inhibitors work by acting in the kidneys to reduce the reabsorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
Sirona’s strategy is to do the basic discovery and development work on a given product, and then to license the technique or joint venture it for commercialization, marketing and distribution. In 2014 the company signed a licensing agreement with Wanbang Biopharmaceuticals for the Chinese market. Wanbang will develop and commercialize Sirona’s SGLT2 inhibitor exclusively in the People’s Republic of China. The company also has a licensing agreement with Obagi Medical Products for a skin lightening agent.
Sirona Biochem was founded in 2009 by CEO Dr. Howard Verrico. The first thing Verrico did was to acquire the exclusive global license from TFChem for its proprietary SGLT2 Inhibitor. TFChem is based in Rouen, France. Verrico thought enough of TFChem’s research that he then went on to acquire TFChem as a wholly-owned subsidiary from its founder Dr. Geraldine Deliencourt-Godefroy. She then became Sirona’s Chief Science Officer and largest shareholder. TFChem now acts as Sirona’s research and development laboratory. A respected scientist, Deliencourt-Godefroy has also received a variety of honours in France including the acclaimed Francinov Research and Innovation Medal, the French Ministry of Research Award and the French Senate Award.
The company sees the cosmetic and cosmeceutical industry as its first major market penetration target for two important reasons. The first is that, as noted above, the financial reward for creating a fountain of youth will be immense. Secondly, the amount of regulatory testing for cosmetics is miniscule when compared to that involved in the pharmaceutical industry. The company intends to use the cash flow created by its anti-aging platform and skin colour lightening products, to finance the creation of more traditionally flavoured therapies for things like cell preservation and anti-inflammatories.
The company’s development focus is based on three high-return fields of discovery and development:
- Therapeutics: diabetes, anti-inflammatories and anti-infectives
- Cosmeceuticals: anti-aging and depigmenting agents
- Biological Ingredients: inducers and adjuvants for biological development and preservation.
With an SLGT2 inhibitor in the pre-clinical stage and four cosmetic products in the testing and validation phase, the company has received revenues and will continue to do so in the future from Wanbang for its SLGT2 inhibitor. Sirona also receives revenue from Obagi Medical products for a skin lightener, one of three skin lightening agents under development. It is also working on an acne treatment, an anti-inflammatory and an anti-infective.
Much of Sirona’s work is ground-breaking. Stabilizing carbohydrate molecules opens up new fields for therapeutic interventions and may rejuvenate older treatments which became stalled. Synthesizing the glycoprotein found in the blood serum of Antarctic fish may produce a product that slows down the aging of skin. One way to illustrate its potential value is that when TFChem first synthesized the glycoprotein, cosmetic giant L’Oreal Group, the world’s largest cosmetics company slapped a field-of-use patent on it. As it turns out the first synthesis was not stable, but the later ones were, and L’Oreal was out of luck.
While Sirona is concentrating on developing cosmetic products, it hasn’t neglected the medical side of things. The company has a pipeline of products that are heading towards the market. The anti-aging compound is now in the testing and validation phase.
The company has a 52-week high of $0.20 and a 52-week low of $0.12. As of June 16, 2017, it was trading at $0.17. And if you were wondering, Sirona is the name of the Celtic goddess of healing.