Glecex: research at the service of food and cosmetics

The Galician company develops I+D+i projects, both in-house and external, for the development of new products based on natural extracts.

Glecex's laboratory. Foto: Glecex
Glecex's laboratory. Foto: Glecex

Only 30 seconds of application on hands. A moisturising, alcohol-free lotion with biocidal properties. That is, capable of killing encapsulated viruses, such as coronaviruses, including SARS-Cov-2, and influenza viruses. It does not yet have a name but would serve as an alternative to the well-known hydroalcoholic gel. The difference: it has only natural ingredients. So says Enma Conde, one of the partners of Glecex, the Galician company that developed this formulation. Armed with optimism, they hope to start marketing it at the beginning of 2022.

“To date, it is the only hand product that is alcohol-free and has certified biocidal properties“, explains Conde. They are currently in the process of registering their lotion with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), an essential step for its future commercialisation. “Although we already have the formulation and the prototype, we are still working on this project. In fact, we have already carried out a test on human volunteers to verify that our product is compatible with the skin and does not cause irritation, but moisturises,” adds the Glecex partner.

Connect-19 programme

The development of this product is part of Connect-19, a programme promoted by Xunta de Galicia with the aim of finding innovative solutions to reduce the impact of Covid-19. “It was a great achievement for us to finish this initiative with a certified product,” says Conde. They are getting closer to making their project available on the market in the form of a lotion. “We determined that this was the most stable and compatible option with the ingredients,” explains Glecex, ruling out other prototypes such as gel.

But this is not the only project in which the Glecex team, led by Enma Conde and José Manuel López, is immersed. This Galician company, based in Ourense, was founded eight years ago. Its partners came from the world of university research but decided to turn their careers around and embark on an entrepreneurial venture. The essence of Glecex lies precisely there, in offering an I+D+i service to different sectors, especially the food and beauty sectors. “Our aim is to support companies in their research and development projects for new products,” explains Conde.

Anti-inflammatory capacity

“We are currently working on a project to determine the anti-inflammatory capacity of certain ingredients”, explains Glecex. In the tests they have already carried out, they were establishing whether these natural extracts had the capacity to inhibit some of the enzymes related to metabolic diseases, such as hypertension, cholesterol or diabetes. They are currently involved in a project to develop functional beverages that may have this anti-inflammatory capacity.

But they are not only working with the food sector; they have also made the leap to cosmetics. “What we do is to develop an ingredient, which would be the star element of this cosmetic line, from the raw material chosen by the client”, says Conde. Glecex develops the whole process of extracting that ingredient, ensuring personalised treatment. “Nobody else on the market is going to have the same cosmetic element”, the company adds.

Duration of the projects

The duration of the projects they are working on is highly variable and depends on various factors. With the food sector, they tend to develop longer-term initiatives, lasting two to three years. On the other hand, in cosmetics, projects are shorter and have a more immediate result, in just a few months. Because at Glecex they are not only in charge of the development of the key ingredient, but also of the manufacturing.

“The only thing we want in the future is to continue working on this. More companies will be interested in our services and we will be able to develop our internal projects“, says Conde when he tries to predict what is to come. Outside of its client portfolio, Glecex also aspires to start more of its own initiatives, such as the development of a lotion with biocidal properties. But this is not the only project in the pipeline.

Microalgae in cosmetics

One of them is based on the properties of microalgae for application in the cosmetics sector. “We have just presented the results of a European project to Anfaco-Cecopesca. We were the only company in the consortium, and we were accompanied by research centres and universities”, says Conde. But the possibilities of microalgae in European cosmetics is not the only project, as they are also working with them in the food sector. “We found that by fermenting microalgae we were able to improve their biological properties. We saw that they have the capacity to inhibit an enzyme related to cholesterol synthesis“, says Glecex.

For now, his mantra is to continue working and achieving goals. And in addition to continuing to offer a personalised service to its customers, to be able to immerse itself in its own projects. Be it microalgae or biocide lotions. For the moment, they are still waiting for the bureaucratic procedures to be speeded up and their new product to be marketed as soon as possible. Be that as it may, they remain optimistic, keeping 2022 as their target date.

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