Arcaea to Engineer Beauty Through Biology

The products we traditionally use for personal hygiene and beauty can have large ecological impacts. Many of them use chemicals that are byproducts of fossil fuels or harvest ingredients from threatened or endangered ecosystems. What if we could grow the things that make us feel clean and beautiful, sustainably? Beyond environmental concerns, synthetic biology promises the possibility of products with new functions and a vision of nurturing our personal hygiene and redefining our sense of beauty.

Arcaea, LLC (Ar-kay-uh), incubated on the Ginkgo platform and formed under the name Kalo Ingredients LLC, was launched with the mission to build a new foundation for the beauty industry through expressive biology. The company sees biology as a valuable creative tool for self expression and aims to grow new ingredients and product experiences for beauty through the tools of the synthetic biology ecosystem fostered on the Ginkgo platform. By culturing industry-leading, safe, and sustainable ingredients, Arcaea intends to create a new supply chain for the industry that does not rely on petrochemicals or on harvesting and dwindling natural resources.

By harnessing the power of biology, Arcaea is poised to produce highly sustainable products that can deliver new functionality and performance across skincare, bodycare, haircare, and aesthetics.

The company will be led by Jasmina Aganovic, a chemical and biological engineering graduate from MIT. She brings more than a decade of industry experience translating innovation in beauty through brands and products at various beauty companies, including Fresh and Living Proof and the innovative microbiome beauty company Mother Dirt, which changed the way we think about clean and healthy skin. Jasmina saw the powerful role that biology can play in the cosmetics industry, which prompted her interest in creating tools to better realize its potential. She joined Ginkgo as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence, where she spent the last two years building the foundation for Arcaea.

“Through Arcaea, we see biology as a creative tool that will drive the next generation of products and innovation. We can now access many more molecules on earth ethically and sustainably, and therefore can unlock unlimited and previously unimagined possibilities for beauty,” said Aganovic. “By bringing together new advances in technology with designers, brand builders, and leaders from every point of the supply chain, we can spark a change across the entire ecosystem to create an industry that is reflective of the future we want to see for the industry.”

Arcaea has raised $78 million in Series A funding from a consortium of strategic and financial investors including Cascade Investment L.L.C., Viking Global, CHANEL, Givaudan and Wittington Ventures. This Series A financing round brings together a mix of expertise across the value chain of the industry. It will enable Arcaea to initiate multiple technical programs across key categories in beauty to develop a pipeline of ingredients and brand launches and create a world of previously unimaginable possibilities in beauty, such as: a fragrance that no one on earth has ever smelled before; proteins that can memorize hair styles; contouring through skincare and not just makeup; and biological filters that protect skin from the elements.

“One of the most impactful things we can do at Ginkgo is support entrepreneurs and help them accelerate their timelines to make incredible things happen with biology,” said Jason Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo. “We are thrilled to see Arcaea launch and begin its journey to deliver creative solutions to the beauty industry through biology.”

Read the press release here.

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