Created in 2013 and based in Canada, Bio ForeXtra, a startup supported by EU|BIC Ag Bio Centre, one of our recently accredited EU|BICs, develops ecological and natural cosmetic active ingredients, by recycling wood byproducts (tree barks) not previously used for this purpose. As a pioneer in the sector, the startup is the first to create the missing link between forestry and the market.
With the support of EU|BIC Ag Bio Centre from the very beginning, and only 4 years since being founded, Bio ForeXtra's innovative sustainable ingredients are distributed in more than 30 other countries around the world. Bio ForeXtra’s founder and CEO, Mariana Royer, about Ag Bio Centre’s role in the success of her startup, says: “They take part in the foundation and history of my company. They believed in my project since day one and helped me in all my struggles. “
Moreover, the Canadian startup has been supported by one more EBN Member – EUREKA. In the framework of a 2-year “Network Project” and in partnership with Alban Muller International, a French company with 40 years of expertise in the field of plant extraction, Bio ForeXtra has received funding from EUREKA to optmise its production processes and create an ecological dermo-cosmetic line.
As 90% of Quebec territory is covered by forest, wood and forestry industry is the largest contributor to Canadian economy, with Canada having the world’s largest forest product trade balance - 19.3 billion (2013) in Canadian dollars..
However, during the economic crisis (2008-2009), the industry was shaken and there was a need to come up with better utilisation of the resources generated by forestry.
At that time, Mariana Royer, Bio ForeXtra’s Founder and CEO (on the left), was conducting a post-doctoral research on biocompounds found in wood byproducts as the new “hope” to revive the industry and give a boost to the shaken economy. She discovered that wood byproducts (such as tree barks, outer layers of trunks) that were, in practice, just burnt to create renewable energy, hid immense potential to be used in cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pharmaceutical and industries alike prior being burnt.
However, this specific industry was not in place at the time; the value chain extracting the byproducts and bringing them to the market had to be created, and Bio ForeXtra was the first company creating this bridge between the wood and cosmetics industry (from collecting tree barks, extracting their ingredients, to the final packaging and selling to cosmetic industry).
Mariana created the concept “The tree skin for your skin” to explain how tree barks are a great source of beneficial ingredients for human skin, treating skin issues and preventing aging. To develop the ingredients, Mariana used only green technologies, providing high technical data to the cosmetic industry and building strong credibility within the sector.
Mariana and her team have developed and launched the first line of sustainable and high-tech active ingredients obtained only from recycled bark: Borealine®. Following the investment of the multinational group, IFF-Lucas Meyer Cosmetics in Bio ForeXtra in July 2016, Borealine® is now available in their international distribution network in more than 30 countries all over the world. Bio ForeXtra research laboratory continues to develop cosmetic active ingredients obtained from various tree species focusing on the valorisation of biomass.
Bio ForeXtra team
How has Ag Bio centre supported Bio ForeXtra?
Specialised in supporting biotechnology startups, Ag Bio Centre was the perfect place for Bio ForeXtra to start their business. The startup needed a laboratory, a professional working space, meeting rooms to receive clients, and the EU|BIC’s premises were ideally suited for the startup’s needs. Moreover, the EU|BIC advised Bio ForeXtra on number of important matters when starting and growing a business: funding, clients, understanding the market, etc. Also, by participating in the events organised by the EU|BIC, the startup gained visibility, benefited from exchanges with other entrepreneurs at the incubator, and expanded its professional network.
Why should entrepreneurs seek support from a EU|BIC such as Ag Bio Centre?
“They are all the support an entrepreneur needs to keep faith in his/her project. When you start a company from nothing you need to feel that your “crazy idea” can be trusted by experienced people that will help you to structure it and grow,” said Mariana Royer, Bio ForeXtra’s Founder and CEO
Ag Bio Centre, a EU|BIC based in Quebec, Canada, is one of 5 Canadian EU|BICs accredited past December 2017. The EU|BIC supports the growth of companies in the agri-food, biotechnology and environmental science sectors by providing entrepreneurial guidance based on an open innovation approach and supported by a network of experts in business and research.
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