“Our objective is to apply the science of longevity to skin”
Specialized in aging genetics, Dr. Ivan de Weber is one of the co-founders and scientific director of The Age Tech. Interview with a man looking towards the future.
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
From a young age, I was determined to refuse aging. After obtaining a PhD in the field of aging genetics from the University of Geneva, I led various projects in the areas of genetics, personalized medicine and pharmaceutical research. One of the approaches on which I currently focus combines bioinformatics and artificial intelligence; its objective is to accelerate drug discovery from a cost and time efficacy perspective. It nevertheless seems essential to me to act in parallel via even more direct means in order to obtain concrete results in the short term. After bringing epigenetic concepts to the food supplement sector, I decided to tackle cosmetics.
Explain to us how The Age Tech’s adventure came to life?
Six years ago, a former classmate at my university introduced me to a friend who wanted to do something in the field of cosmetics. However, she had serious doubts and legitimate questions. For my part, the plan was to tweak epigenetics to push the skin towards a younger phenotype. I convinced her of the relevance of my approach. Since we shared a lot of opinions about today’s cosmetics – mostly critical – we decided to create a brand based on the science of aging, effectiveness and ease of use.
How is The Age Tech different from other cosmetic companies?
We are not really a cosmetics company, rather a biotech start-up oriented towards functional cosmetics. We apply knowledge coming from molecular biology to the mechanisms of skin aging.
“Formulations currently on the market are generally more focused on optimizing marketing cost-effectiveness in the design of their products rather than on a real solution.”
You claim to want to revolutionize anti-aging cosmetics, isn’t that a bit pretentious for a start-up that is just starting out?
It’s even worse! Anti-aging is more of an industry than an effect – our goal is to design products with true “anti-aging” properties, to create real anti-aging cosmetics, or rather to apply the science of longevity to the skin. It is a challenge, I admit, but the epigenetic approach is clearly the right one. Formulations currently on the market are generally more focused on optimizing marketing cost-effectiveness in the design of their products rather than on a real solution. In addition, the research tools used in cell biology have not evolved significantly, while knowledge in the field produces several thousand times more data than a decade ago. In short, the industry is lagging far behind in progress. In short, the industry is lagging far behind in progress.
What type of skin is your product for? Do you have to be of a certain age to use it?
The intrinsic mechanisms of aging do not depend on the type of skin. Therefore, I would say all healthy skin types, which are not subjected to other dermatological treatments. Depending on one’s point of view, you might consider that one ages even before being born … Still, I wouldn’t offer the serum to premature infants. To be broad, once the teenage years and the acne treatments are over, I think you have to start preventing aging. It sounds a bit extreme, nevertheless any doctor will agree that it is necessary to protect children from the sun; sun which is a key skin aging factor and can lead to tumors…
Why did you use eleven active ingredients, and no more?
I am not a specialist in numerology. It was simply a matter of being able to achieve maximum synergistic effects and address the main causes and effects of skin aging in a single product. The selection of molecules is done simultaneously on the basis of the epigenetic mechanisms and metabolic pathways in which they are involved, their efficacy in clinical studies, their complementarity, and their synergies.
What challenges do you still have to face as a young company entering the market?
Anti-aging has deceived and disappointed a lot, especially in the field of cosmetics… The challenge is to get people talking about us, to convince customers that we are not part of this old lie, and that we are really modulating the mechanisms of skin aging. It’s like seducing a woman you have already cheated on, without even knowing her.