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Bulletin No. 2 Go-to-Market

Conquering the Cosmetotextiles Market

The Exploitation Pathways of the Horizon 2020 Project SKHINCAPS

Written by Carla Silva, Mariana Ornelas, Alice Ribeiro, Catarina Nobre, CeNTI

The main ambition of the SKHINCAPS project was the development of everyday products, such as cosmetics and textiles, containing customised and safe nanocapsules able to impart special functionalities to these products. The Horizon 2020-funded project ran from October 2015 to September 2019 with a total investment of around EUR 3.2 million.

Coordinated by CENTI, a research entity in the north of Portugal, it had three more research institutions (UPC, IWV and VTT) and four SMEs (DEVAN, BIONANOPLUS, TELIC and PROACTIVE) involved, all with well-defined roles and responsibilities in the project. In particular, the project has explored an in situ self-assembly nanoencapsulation technology, based on sustainable and cost-effective processes and ingredients leading to innovations in the cosmetic and textile sectors. Natural active ingredients such as Phase Change Materials (PCM), Antioxidants/Vitamins and Essential Oils, were encapsulated in biocompatible and biodegradable polymers to achieve thermal comfort as well as antioxidant and antimicrobial features. The main objective of SKHINCAPS was the development of functional textiles and cosmetics, containing nanocapsules produced using this scalable technology.

Results achieved: functionalised textiles and cosmetic products

Mainly due to their strong consortium commitment and involvement in the project, the partners managed to achieve the main objectives initially proposed. The major outcomes can be seen in the different prototypes developed within the project:

Functionalised textiles to be used as first layer garments were developed with proved thermal comfort properties, validated both in vitro - by Differential Scanning Calorimetry - and in vivo

within a study conducted with healthy volunteers. These textiles are meant to be used both in warm and cold environments and they function as a thermal barrier, keeping human body temperature uniform even with external temperature changes. The applied nanocapsules were designed to have a non-release profile mechanism that can guarantee the entrapment of the PCM even after several washing cycles.

Demonstrators of anti-wrinkle creams and serum were also developed with nanocapsules containing a cocktail of natural antioxidants and vitamins, with proved anti-ageing capacity. This property was achieved by a triggered release mechanism in the developed nanocapsules, in which the active ingredients are released upon specific pH and skin temperature. Its efficacy was proved in vitro - by DPPH scavenging assay, Cellular Antioxidant Activity and Elastase Inhibition - and in vivo - evaluation of healthy volunteers’ skin upon the cosmetic usage, with external dermatological control. Moreover, textiles treated with these nanocapsules containing natural essential oils also proved to have anti-ageing capacity, by DPPH scavenging assay, being the release of the essential oil triggered by the presence of body sweat.

Finally, cosmetic products and textiles with antimicrobial properties were produced by the incorporation of essential oil nanocapsules into garments, creams and lotions, having a targeted release mechanism upon specific microorganisms, namely Gram-positive bacteria (such as Staphylococcus aureus). Several cosmetic formulations as demonstrators were developed, namely an anti-acne cream, athlete’s foot cream, anti-dandruff shampoo, and a body gel as well as functional textiles (to be applied as underwear, for example), with proven efficacy to prevent microbial infections, even after several washing cycles.

All the developed demonstrators (both fabrics and cosmetics) were tested in vivo with healthy volunteers, not only to assure its efficacy but also to assess any

allergy/irritation potential to the skin. These tests were performed by corneometry and toxicity studies, showing that the developed demonstrators were safe and harmless to end users. Also, all the products and developing processes were evaluated for their global warming impact, considering their Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).

Focused right from the start: the exploitation plan

In order to maximise SKHINCAPS’ potential impact, an exploitation plan was drafted at the beginning of the project to develop an effective way to exploit the project results during project execution and, if possible, beyond the lifetime of the project. In the exploitation strategy, the mechanisms for the effective exploitation of the project were identified, established and maintained with the main goal of providing suitable business or commercialisation strategy plans, together with the communication and dissemination plan. A specific focus was on the definition of the possible business scenarios considering the specificities of each SME in the consortium in terms of commercial positioning and products/services already offered, as well as in terms of defining suitable value chains for the implementation of the project developments.

Additionally, the consortium made sure to share information about project developments with appropriate audiences to encourage interaction and networking about the knowledge generated by the project, always having in mind restrictions due to potential IP issues. In fact, an important aspect of the exploitation strategy was related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) management for the new technologies generated through the project as a paramount tool for maximising the impact of SKHINCAPS and its implementation.

The role of IP awareness and management

Systematic IPR-related activities were considered right from the project start, beginning with the identification of any potential conflict between different consortium partners regarding the background and foreground information provided. Additionally, the consortium performed a detailed surveillance of the state of