L'Oreal venture capital fund BOLD leads US$34M funding round for startup Debut, a maker of ingredients for the beauty industry using synthetic biology; Debut's Bio2Consumer platform spans ingredient discovery, biofermentation, formulation, clinical trials

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June 1, 2023 (press release) –

The partnership with BOLD, L'Oréal's venture capital fund, will enable Debut to bring novel bioactive cosmetic ingredients and products to consumers worldwide 

SAN DIEGO, June 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Debut, a vertically integrated synthetic biology company that is spearheading the creation of innovative and novel high-performing active ingredients in beauty, announced that it has raised $34M Series B in a funding round led by BOLD, the venture capital fund of L'Oréal, the world leader in beauty.

Additional participating investors include Fine Structure Ventures, Material Impact, GS Futures, Cavallo Ventures, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, ACVC Partners, and others. 


As part of the strategic partnership with L'Oréal's venture capital fund BOLD, Debut will develop a wide variety of novel ingredients and beauty and personal care products using its proprietary cell-free and biotechnology model, with a view to accelerating the commercialization of this technology across the entire beauty industry. Debut is the only player in the biotech space with full vertical integration capabilities incorporating ingredient discovery, finished clinically-backed scalable ingredients and brands on shelf, all delivered at unprecedented speed. The Series B financing and partnership with BOLD will equip Debut with the resources to quickly establish this new benchmark in the industry. 

"Debut exists to set a new standard in beauty by developing novel active ingredients that herald a new era with regard to performance, sustainability, scalability and cost, and we are thrilled to be partnering with L'Oréal's BOLD, the beauty world leader that is as invested in this industry's future as we are," said Debut Founder and CEO Joshua Britton, Ph.D. "Everyday, we are leveraging our team's groundbreaking technology, scientific research and unbridled creativity to lead the biological revolution that will transform beauty as we know it. We harness synthetic biology to create novel and higher-performing ingredients that are not accessible by other means in order to advance product benefits and target unmet consumer needs". 

"Debut addresses one of the beauty world's fundamental challenges: driving innovation without the resource-intensity and environmental impact that comes with relying on traditional manufacturing alone," said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology, at L'Oréal. "Cell-free biomanufacturing is not science fiction: it is here. We could not be more excited to be the first beauty leader to invest in Debut and partner with them to create stand-out active beauty innovations while protecting the planet's resources."

Debut's proprietary Bio2Consumer™ platform spans ingredient discovery, cell-free, biofermentation, formulation, clinical trials and brand creation. The platform utilizes cell-free and advanced fermentation approaches such as continuous biomanufacturing to overcome the limitations of traditional methods, dramatically reducing the need for space, water, and expensive and unsustainable inputs. In addition to producing rare, high-value and novel compounds, Debut's technology also improves traditional ingredient manufacturing. The platform comprises a proprietary database of over 3.8 million pre-clinical data points to find and discover new ingredients that address beauty consumer needs. By overcoming the limitations of cell-based fermentation, Debut can produce high-value ingredients rapidly and more sustainably. 

Debut's portfolio of ingredients are both natural and lab-made, comprising the best of both worlds and protecting the environment from resource extraction. Debut's inputs into the biomanufacturing process are found in nature. The enzymes used to catalyze the transformation to high-value natural products are also found in nature. "What science allows us to do is understand how nature makes it, and then translate that to an industrially scalable system to provide the exact same molecules that are found in trace amounts in nature using synthetic biology," said Britton.

Debut's $22.6M Series A in August 2021, led by Material Impact, helped scale its unique and unprecedented ingredient development model, establish its in-house brand incubator, and grow into its 26,000-square-foot facility in San Diego. 

About Debut
Debut is an unconventional innovation company, setting a new standard for the next generation of beauty. With breakthrough biotechnology, Debut's team of expert scientists and brand specialists work to develop novel bioactive skincare ingredients and products at unprecedented rates through their scalable creation model. With a human-centric and climate-positive approach, Debut is committed to creating purposeful brands that push humanity forward. Learn more at debutbiotech.com. 

About L'Oréal
For over 110 years, L'Oréal, the world's leading beauty player, has devoted itself to one thing only: fulfilling the beauty aspirations of consumers around the world. Our purpose, to create the beauty that moves the world, defines our approach to beauty as inclusive, ethical, generous and committed to social and environmental sustainability. With our broad portfolio of 36 international brands and ambitious sustainability commitments in our L'Oréal for the Future programme, we offer each and every person around the world the best in terms of quality, efficacy, safety, sincerity and responsibility, while celebrating beauty in its infinite plurality. With 87 400 committed employees, a balanced geographical footprint and sales across all distribution networks (e-commerce, mass market, department stores, pharmacies, hair salons, branded and travel retail), in 2022 the Group generated sales amounting to 38.26 billion euros. With 20 research centers across 11 countries around the world and a dedicated Research and Innovation team of over 4 000 scientists and 5 500 tech and digital professionals, L'Oréal is focused on inventing the future of beauty and becoming a Beauty Tech powerhouse. More information on www.loreal.com. 

CONTACT: Small Girls PR, debut@smallgirlspr.com


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