Isolating milk proteins for fighting infections at Quantec
Epiology Skincare is a clinically proven skin treatment that uses a combination of 100% natural, milk proteins and bioactive enzymes to reduce redness and fight acne. Biotech company Quantec isolated the proteins which they’ve patented as IDP – an antibacterial and immune boosting supplement that is used in their Epiology range and also sold to immune supplement manufacturers.
In 2005 Rod Claycomb was running a company Sensortec, a Waikato business involved in the development of on-farm technologies for separating a wide range of components in milk. Sensortec hired scientist Judy Bragger to research milk proteins with a view to how they might develop a way to “pull milk apart on the farm”. Judy came across some interesting proteins that showed an intriging combination of antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties.
Recognising the value of the discovery, Judy and Rod set up Quantec Biotechnology at Waikato Innovation Park to commercialise the proteins. The proteins, isolated from fresh pasturised milk are patented as IDP – ‘Immune Defence Proteins’.
Quantec source their IDP from NZ dairy factories, specifying the milk proteins they want. Ten litres of cow milk delivers 1 gram of IDP powder. The product is then freeze dried and delivered as a powder. After adding some activators that are lost in the protein production, this formulation can be used in a variety of applications such as foods, supplements, personal care, cosmetics and animal health remedies.
The potential internal applications of IDP include (but are not limited to): oral applications (such as tooth plaque, gum disorders, breath freshener and mouthwash), sore and Strep Throat, digestive upsets, gastrointestinal irritations, and parasitic, bacterial, viral and fungal infections such as Candida yeast infections that can cause Thrush.
Initially Quantec only supplied the IDP powder to other companies to manufacture into products. A number of companies picked up the supplement to use in immune boosting drinks and tablets for human health.
Rod and Judy always thought the product would be ideal for a skincare range. Looking at an acne treatment was an obvious first place to investigate. They created a basic cream for field trials in the USA. Initially the idea was a ‘proof of concept’ to boost the sales of IDP. In a clinical trial Quantec’s specially formulated skin cream with IDP, went head-to-head in a double blind study against a premium, US-based clinical brand of acne treatment cream (containing 2% salicylic acid plus retinol).
At the end of the 42-day trial involving 84 subjects, both the premium brand of acne treatment cream and the IDP based cream showed statistically equivalent results in terms of total reduction in acne lesions. However the IDP based cream also showed a major improvement of over 52% in reduction of redness and inflammation. All this from a 100% natural product. With the results being so good, Quantec shifted the focus to creating their own skincare range. Judy went back to Quantec lab and developed a recipe for what is now Epiology Skincare. The range includes a cleanser, an anti-acne cream and a spot gel.
The product has been launched in NZ and Mexico dermatology markets. It is also in NZ pharmacies and is becoming a dominant brand with solid repeat business. The range works for spotty skin through to hardcore acne. They’re finding the key NZ users are in the 30-40 year old bracket – consumers who want a brand that actually does what it says and works.
Marketing manager Jo Rickman says the challenge is getting people to use the product as, “Once they use it, they’re hooked”. Their international market development is presently focused on China, Australia and Europe. They’re looking at the regulations for each market around acne treatments to assure they enter these markets at the right time.
Quantec is also presently looking to animal health care products with work into a non-antibiotic mastitis treatment for dairy cows.