A conversation with Eva Galik, CEO & Co-Owner,
and Anne Schrötter, Global Sales & Marketing Manager, bitop AG
EURO COSMETICS: What is the origin of bitop?
Eva Galik: Our passion for science and the development of innovative and natural active ingredients started in the early 1990s.
bitop was founded in 1993 as a spin-off from the University Witten/Herdecke as one of the first biotech companies in Germany.
Within the past 28 years, bitop has become an internationally operating expert in the biotechnological manufacturing of small natural protection molecules, so called Extremolytes. We have done extensive research and validated for example Ectoin® as a naturally derived ingredient for cosmetics and medical products. Besides Ectoin® natural, we offer other multifunctional bioactives, e.g., Glycoin® natural, a natural sugar derivate known for its cell boosting and moisturizing properties.
Apart from our ingredient business, we develop and manufacture extremolytebased
medical products for the treatment of skin diseases, allergies, asthma, eye diseases, or cough & cold.
EURO COSMETICS: What is your inspiration?
Eva Galik: True to our philosophy “Nature provides the idea – we add the science.” our source of inspiration are extremophilic plants and microorganisms, so called extremophiles, thriving in the most hostile conditions provided by nature. Extremophiles are a cool bunch of small organisms and very fascinating. They happily prosper in sub-zero temperatures, high radiation, total drought, and heat, or extreme salinity.
You will find them where barely any human would dare to stay: in salt deserts, the deep sea, geysers, deserts, or the arctic ice. Their secrets are Extremolytes. These little protection molecules are the adaptation strategy of extremophiles and thus enable life in extreme conditions.
At bitop, this survival concept of nature is the basis of our biotechnological production and the nucleus of our scientific research.
EURO COSMETICS: How do you incorporate sustainability at bitop?
Eva Galik: Many natural ingredients are still sourced from plants. However, for some of these ingredients, the amount obtained from a plant can be quite small compared to the amount of land, water, and energy that are needed to produce it.
At bitop, we are specialized in biotechnological production, which is one of the most sustainable ways to manufacture ingredients.
Biotechnology is a scientific field that draws from millions of years of evolution in which living beings have specialized in producing and recycling all kinds of compounds and materials. These biological processes can be used to efficiently break down waste and produce materials with lower pollution, water, land, and energy use than traditional methods.
Our bioactive Ectoin® for example is produced through microbial fermentation.
Using this fermentation technology, we grow natural extremophilic microbes under the same conditions as in nature and extract the bioactive from them. At the end of the manufacturing process, we obtain a 100% pure and natural molecule without exploiting nature.
As a German manufacturer, we already follow high quality and environmental standards. Nevertheless, we strive for the highest sustainability and environmental standards as a continuous process. By optimizing our sustainable production process bitop® biNEXT for instance, we were able to reduce our CO2 footprint by over 130 tons per year.
EURO COSMETICS: How does bitop Ectoin® natural repair and work on the skin?
Anne Schrötter: The skin embodies the outermost protection layer of the human body. Thus, it is only reasonable to repair, protect, and support it. To understand the mode of action and the benefits of Ectoin® natural it is essential to comprehend that the skin is not a static entity but represents one of the most fascinating communication systems. As soon as external stressors reach the epidermis, a signaling cascade is activated which is then followed by inflammatory reactions impacting not only the epidermis but also deeper skin layers.
At bitop, we are specialized in biotechnological production, which is one of the most sustainable ways to manufacture ingredients”
Therefore, protection should always start where stressors hit first: the epidermis. While stressors come in various dimensions weakening and aging our skin, Ectoin® natural binds water molecules of its surroundings and acts as a protection and repairing shield by forming so called Ectoin® Hydro Complexes. The power of Ectoin® natural is based on its simple but effective mode of action. Thereby increasing hydration and activating the skin’s self-defense and repairing activity. Also, the skin barrier is stabilized and restored by Ectoin® natural. Furthermore, inflammatory gene expression in cells is reduced.
Based on this unique mode of action, Ectoin® natural, as a single molecule, shows global protection (anti-pollution, blue light, sun, chemical stress, free radicals, etc.) and repairing efficacy proven by numerous clinical in vivo studies. For me, it is one of the best actives available for skincare with amazing, visible results.
EURO COSMETICS: What makes bitop Ectoin® natural and Glycoin® natural a “formulator’s darling”?
Anne Schrötter: Our active ingredients are not only known and appreciated for their efficacy and quality but also for their easy handling during the formulation process.
Both actives have no known incompatibilities with other ingredients and are excellently water-soluble. They allow clear, odorless formulations and are very stable regarding all relevant parameters (temperature, pH, oxygen, or light). In summary, they are super easy to formulate. Formulators love them.
EURO COSMETICS: Why does the skin need additional protection?
Anne Schrötter: Every day at any time, our skin is confronted with numerous stressors – most of them man-made. Starting in the morning with blue light emitted from our mobile phones and PC screens while checking messages. On top of that, there is air pollution from the urban jungle, exhaust particles from office printers or cigarette smoke, and other environmental factors such as temperature variations, dry air, or UV radiation the skin must handle. Those stressors affect our skin throughout the day with various damaging impacts. The skin’s self-defense mechanisms are often no longer able to fully compensate for the stress. Consequently, inflammatory reactions are caused in the cells, leading to wrinkling, pigmentation formation, dry, irritated, and allergic skin.
“We strongly identify with the urge for innovation and progress and focus our attention on both current and future trends”
Thus, the skin needs 24/7 protection and support. The efficacy of our Extremolytes, Ectoin® natural and Glycoin® natural, is scientifically proven and offers complete protection against all kinds of stressors. Whereas Ectoin® natural is the active ingredient when it comes to long-term hydration, ultimate protection and repair, Glycoin® natural instantly hydrates, boosts important cell functions, and brings back the power of youth to tired, stressed, and mature skin. Both bioactives are effective independently but also make a great combination for multifunctional products.
EURO COSMETICS: How do you see your active ingredients in terms of upcoming trends?
Anne Schrötter: Customer trends are constantly evolving and aiming for innovation. As a result, formulators are confronted with new challenges all the time. The need for 100% natural, sustainable, highly effective, safe, and multifunctional active ingredients is rising. At bitop, we strongly identify with the urge for innovation and progress and focus our attention on both current and future trends. Also, we take great attention not only to meet the required standards but to exceed them.
Ectoin® natural and Glycoin® natural are multifunctional active ingredients that are protecting the skin from the whole spectrum of external stressors and additionally, promoting healthy and beautiful skin. The efficacy of our active ingredients has already been proven by numerous clinical in vivo and in vitro studies. Because of their wide range of applications and their high quality and sustainability, both active ingredients are meeting trending consumer needs. Furthermore, all our bioactives are certified by EcoCert, Cosmos, as well as Natrue, and are Halal.
EURO COSMETICS: Thank you for the conversation.