EpigenCare Inc., a personalized skincare startup company, is a finalist in Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Digital Beauty Quickfire Challenge.
The Challenge is designed to identify, recognize, and support the most innovative and future-forward digital beauty solutions. One of the key innovation areas that the challenge focuses on is personalization tools to simplify product selection and build regimen in a way that empowers consumers to make better informed skincare choices.
EpigenCare has developed a direct-to-consumer skincare test that assesses the current state of one's skin by looking at epigenetic markers associated with quality indicators including aging, elasticity, moisture, pigmentation, and more. Epigenetics is the study of biological mechanisms (e.g., DNA methylation) that could activate or deactivate a gene's function over time. Since a person has the same genes throughout his or her entire life, only epigenetic -- rather than genetic -- profiling could accurately reflect the dynamic and current state of one's skin.
The company is currently working on a complementary digital platform that skincare companies can use to match their existing products to consumers on a personalized basis. The matching process is through a recommendation algorithm based on the epigenetic effects of product ingredients on the consumers' tested epigenetic markers of their skin.
To ensure consumers' privacy is protected, EpigenCare is implementing blockchain technology on the digital platform such that consumers are designated with a blockchain transaction ID rather than with any personally identifiable information. The company's business model is for consumer data to be used only for one's exclusive benefit in the form of personalized products. Through the decentralized blockchain ledger, consumers can choose to audit how their data is being used, thereby eliminating the perceived intrusiveness often associated with direct-to-consumer tests requiring DNA. EpigenCare also plans to implement machine learning with its epigenetic data, which can be combined with photo imaging of skin for an artificial intelligence based personalization method.
EpigenCare will present at the JLABS technology center in San Francisco, CA on March 27th. In addition to a $50,000 grant, Johnson & Johnson Innovation will provide winners with access to a network of experts, residency for up to one year at JLABS incubator, and admission to a Johnson & Johnson Consumer Experience Center (CxC). Winners will be able to design and deploy a research initiative through the CxC.Next Story