There is something appealing about the image of a shamanic healer smashing up a random piece of foliage from his garden and smearing it on your skin to heal your worst ailments. But that kind of magic does not exist in real life, or does it?
Not really, no. Nevertheless, Israeli start-up AvoMed has developed what may be the next best thing. Using the humble avocado pit as its source, the company has developed technology that can extract a special compound – called a bioactive PFA (polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols) – from the big slippery marble at the center of everyone’s favorite fatty fruit. That compound can then be used as an active ingredient in topical cosmetic products to treat skin damage and inflammatory disorders.
The company, founded by chairman Oded Bashan, is still in its early stages. AvoMed is currently raising a SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) financing round through the Pipelbiz platform to scale up industrial production, support marketing and sales, product development, intellectual property and R&D.
An effective tool for skin protection
AvoMed believes that PFA can be an effective tool toward skin protection and the treatment of skin disorders, and there’s been some academic research to back up that claim.
Avomed CEO Shai Bensaid said, “More than 10 years ago in the Technion [Israel Institute of Technology], they started to do some research on bioactive PFAs. Once they started to test it, they understood it could have a real benefit for skin cells,” said.
Bensaid went on to explain that while avocado-extracted PFAs are recognized for their beneficial properties, “no one in the world was able to extract it without organic solvents.” The issue is that once organic solvents have been used for extraction, the resulting compound can’t be used in cosmetic or medical products because, as Bensaid put it, “It’s not clean. You cannot do anything with it.”
When AvoMed was founded, Bashan recognized the potential of avocado PFA and set out to find a new way to extract it “in a clean way,” and eventually, they did find such a method. As a result, AvoMed claims to be the only company in the world able to use the compound in cosmetic or medical products.
The company is currently focused on developing cosmetics that can be used to treat a wide variety of skin problems, until they can ultimately scale toward developing medical products (a more challenging feat requiring a higher investment for clinical trials and official authorization). They currently produce two products: one for solar and UV damage treatment and another for atopic dermatitis treatment.
While there is certainly no shortage of avocado oil-based products available in pharmacies and shower essential isles, the monopolization of bioactive PFA – a uniquely useful avocado byproduct – could potentially give the fledgling company a leg up on the competition.