Depofarma developing cosmetics and nutraceuticals from industrial side-streams

The Italian family company, Depofarma, develops innovative solutions to address patients’ unmet needs in order to optimize the quality of their lives. In this interview, project partner, Paola Dalla Zorza talks about the products they have developed in INGREEN and the importance to their company.

In the INGREEN project, Depofarma is developing three innovative products enriched with bio-based GOS, which are chains composed of 2-20 molecules of galactose and glucose digested selectively by bacteria that are beneficial for the health of the gut and intimate area. Two products, a vaginal gel and an intimate cleanser enriched with bio-based LBA, are aimed at the prevention and treatment of urogenital infections and the improvement of the Lactobacillus-dominated vaginal microbiota; the third product, a pre-fermented bran-based product for oral use, is aimed at the restoration of the gut microbiota.

What products and processes has Depofarma contributed to developing in INGREEN? 
At an operational level, we have produced new prototypes (a cosmetic, a medical device, and a nutraceutical one) as explained above. Furthermore, by collaborating with ingredient-producing partners, we have ensured that the sidestream byproducts from which these ingredients derive were valorized and transformed in the best possible way. This has allowed us to obtain ingredients that are applicable in pharmaceutical development. Certainly, the most interesting result is that from the waste products of the dairy and cereal supply chain it is possible to obtain ingredients with a high safety profile that have a beneficial impact on human health and well-being.

What is the main reason Depofarma participated in this BBI project?  
As part of our main business activities, we carry out pharmaceutical research and development of ingredients and products. This Project has allowed us to develop new bio-based and innovative ingredients that could expand our portfolio and may be included in our products.

Your company has shown its commitment to sustainability by participating in the INGREEN project. What other activities has Depofarma conducted to improve your company’s sustainability?
The acceleration of climate change has compounded the need for sustainability.  Alongside using bio-based ingredients for our products, Depofarma has adopted a number of other measures to increase our substantiality.  For example, the photovoltaic system to obtain the energy for our research and development activities, monitoring consumption in real-time, and respecting the environment.

In addition, Depofarma has reduced the number of business trips, adopting smart working as much as possible. This means conducting meetings, training courses and other activities online, both to make work less stressful and to reduce the environmental impact (and, why not, it is also cost-effective!). Lastly, Depofarma is also attentive to the choice of packaging of its products, making sure that it is made from recycled material.

Paola Dalla Zorza and her sister Alessandra are the current Scientific and Sale Directors of Depofarma. Paola and Alessandra are the fourth generation of a family of pharmacists, doctors and drug manufacturers. They develop and commercialise innovative products in the field of Gynecology and Proctology. Depofarma is very active in the research of new active ingredients, clinical validation, and patenting.

Photo: Paola Dalla Zorza