Innovator of the Year!

Congratulations to Dr Neil Gibbs, who has been awarded the 2018 Innovator of the Year Award for commercial impact for his work developing pellamex and researching the science behind it.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) gives the award and several other Innovator awards each year. Other awards recognize work that has impact in social, international and early career areas, as well as an overall winner. The BBRSC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body which is funded by a grant-in-aid from the Government. Their mission is to support world-class bioscience research and training through investment. They aim to both promote science knowledge and economic growth, as well as improving quality of life in the UK and elsewhere.

Dr Neil Gibbs is a researcher at the University of Manchester. It was as a result of his work at the university that he set up Curapel and developed pellamex, a daily food supplement designed for people with eczema and sensitive skin. pellamex is a natural supplement that has been clinically developed to nourish the skin. It hydrates and nourishes using scientifically-backed ingredients that have been researched in a university environment.

Dr Gibbs’s journey began when he was researching skin photobiology. When a landmark paper was published that identified the skin barrier protein filaggrin as a significant factor in the causes of eczema. Due to Dr Gibbs’s own research having a slight link to filaggrin, he had an idea for how ‘feeding filaggrin’ might benefit people with eczema. A grant from BBSRC and help from UMIP helped him to patent and clinically validate his hypothesis. Further support from BBSRC and the Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship, as well as Angel investment, allowed Dr Gibbs set up Curapel and sought further funding to launch pellamex.

As an important protein found at the top of the epidermis, filaggrin supports the skin's natural barrier. The barrier helps to prevent loss of moisture and protects it from environmental stresses. People who don't make enough filaggrin are more likely to have dry and sensitive skin conditions, such as eczema. pellamex has been clinically researched to nourish the skin and build its protective shield by strengthening the epidermis from the inside. The main active ingredient is an amino acid which is required to make filaggrin.

Clinical studies carried out by Curapella showed a decrease in the severity of eczema in adults after 30 days of using pellamex. The amino acid in pellamex both helps to restore the natural skin barrier and keep the skin hydrated. pellamex also contains Vitamins B2, B3 and B7, Vitamin E and zinc, which have all been selected for their skin-nourishing properties. pellamex is also a great choice for older skin, as levels of filaggrin are reported to decrease as we age.

As the winner of the commercial impact award for Innovator of the Year, Dr Gibbs is awarded £10,000. The BBSRC has helped Dr Gibbs to combine science and business to produce a scientifically-backed product to help people with sensitive and dry skin.