Two recent graduates of the University of Maine’s biomedical engineering graduate program have launched a skincare company and unique flagship product, Marin Skincare, which blends lobster glycoproteins with other ingredients to treat dry skin conditions commonly associated with eczema.
Amber Boutiette and Patrick Breeding co-founded a company called Dermarus in August 2019. Marin Skincare is its first brand.
The product was a result of Boutiette’s own struggles with eczema. She found the lobster glycoproteins calmed her eczema unlike other products she had tried. Glycoproteins help maintain the skin’s barrier while hydrating skin, according to the company.
“Our marine glycoproteins were the only thing that worked for me. After years of suffering with dry, irritated skin we made it our mission to bring this relief to others,” said Boutiette, who serves as the company’s chief product officer.
Marin Skincare’s flagship product, which is a “soothing hydration” cream product, blends lobster glycoproteins with skin hydrating and protecting ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, squalene, shea butter, coconut oil and Vitamin E, and is free from skin irritants including fragrances and parabens.
Patrick Breeding, who serves as CEO, said the company plans to introduce more skincare products, but that its R&D efforts have also revealed applications of the glycoproteins that would be the basis for other brands outside skincare.
Breeding and Boutiette spun Dermarus out of an existing company called Lobster Unlimited, which was founded in 2013 to develop new ways to recycle the waste from lobster processing and render it into commercially viable products. Lobster Unlimited has a small equity stake in Dermarus, Breeding said, but the latter developed its own intellectual property to launch Marin Skincare as its first product brand.
While Dermarus is focused on applying the glycoprotein for skin hydrating, barrier protecting and inflammatory properties, Lobster Unlimited is focused on anti-viral and cancer applications, Breeding told Maine Startups Insider.
Dermarus has partnered with Luke’s Lobster/Cape Seafood to ethically and sustainably collect the proteins from lobster, Breeding said.
“It was amazing to discover this new ingredient, it’s sustainably-sourced and naturally active,” said Breeding. “We made sure to have third-party studies performed to show this product is safe and non-irritating, which is really important to people with sensitive, temperamental skin.
To jump start their business amidst the turbulence of COVID-19, Boutiette and Breeding brought on an investor and co-founding COO, Jeremy Boutot, who they met through participating in the Maine Center for Entrepreneurs’ Top Gun program, though for ventures other than Dermarus (Breeding is also a co-founder of KinoTek, another promising startup founded by recent UMaine graduates).
Dermarus has also received $30,000 in grant funding from the Maine Technology Institute and Libra Foundation.
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July 27, 2020 - Maine Startups Insider - Whit Richardson