BASF invests in collagen with 3Helix partnership

By Julia Wray | Published: 3-Nov-2023

The deal includes equity investment and a licensing agreement granting BASF exclusive rights to commercialise the US start-up’s collagen-hybridising peptide technology

BASF is joining forces with 3Helix, a US-based start-up specialising in collagen-hybridising peptide (CHP) technology.

The partnership comprises an equity investment and licensing agreement granting BASF exclusive rights to commercialise 3Helix’s proprietary CHP solutions for personal care.

CHP technology is based on short, single-stranded collagen-like peptides that have the ability to bind to damaged and denatured collagen, enabling sophisticated anti-ageing claims.

3Helix, which was established in 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah, has already scaled-up this technology from laboratory to pilot stage. 

With this deal, German chemicals giant BASF aims to bring it in-house and begin launching CHP-based solutions in 2025.

“It has been an exciting journey to bring our technology to this point where we can partner with BASF,” said the CEO of 3Helix, Mike Kirkness.

“We look forward to the intense collaboration in the coming years and welcome BASF to the 3Helix board of directors.”

“With this partnership, BASF continues to demonstrate our investment in open innovation and expand our innovative offerings to our customers,” said Dr Marina Safont Sempere, Director of New Business Models & Digital Officer, Care Chemicals at BASF. 

“3Helix’s results from laboratory trials are very encouraging and show the potential of this new innovation for the personal care market.”

3Helix is the latest company to receive backing from the German ingredients firm; last year, it invested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) supplier Ingredi, as well as Bangalore, India-located tropical red seaweed processor Sea6 Energy via its BASF Venture Capital entity. 

Collagen and collagen-like technologies are also attracting interest elsewhere. 

L Catterton recently led a US$27m fund for Trautec, a Chinese manufacturer of synthetic recombinant human collagen for beauty and healthcare products, which previously received backing from the Shiseido Beauty Innovations Fund.


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