Schulick is a pioneer in the dietary supplements realm. He founded New Chapter in 1982 with his wife Barbi. The brand was acquired by P&G in 2012, which many in the natural products field viewed as a watershed event. Would big capital steal the soul of the industry?
The pair stayed on for an unusually long time, however. They decided to leave earlier this year when, as Paul Schulick put it, “financial pressures to accelerate profits” convinced him that the innovation and distinctiveness of brand's line of products would start to suffer.
“It’s an interesting experience to have to adapt to a new situation,” Schulick told NutraIngredients-USA. “Part of my DNA is wrapped up in New Chapter.”
Complexity of skin microbiome
The new venture, called byOm life, will focus on products that balance the skin microbiome. Schulick said he’s a product innovator at heart, and had no intention of retiring when he left New Chapter. But the new venture was not something he had planned for years beforehand.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t creating products. I’m not the golfing type,” he said.
“I wanted to reincarnate the mission of New Chapter in my next adventure. But this new venture kind of happened quite suddenly,” Schulick said.
Schulick said that his severance agreement with P&G prevents him from creating new ingestible products for two years after leaving the company. So he naturally turned his focus outward, and began delving into recent research on the skin microbiome. He said it was a natural fit, as products that affected the gut microbiome were part of his focus at New Chapter.
“It wasn’t much of a stretch for me to make the connection between the internal physiological processes and the gut microbiome,” Schulick said.
“But once I started to research the skin, I realized it is incredibly far more complex than I had dreamed of,” he said.
Supporting the skin species, not supplanting them
The new products will have as their goal the health rebalancing of this complex system. But Schulick said that won’t include direct application of probiotic species.
“The more I have studied it, the more I’ve realized that one must be very careful before you start applying species directly to the skin. There is a great intelligence to the equilibrium that exists both inside and outside of the body, and we have to respect that,” he said.
One of the things that Schulick said concerns him about this development pathway in topical products is that when ingredients are ingested, there are systems in place to deal with potential unintended reactions. The gut barrier deals with most toxins and the liver cleans up what gets through. The skin, by contrast, can be seen as a weaker barrier to bacterial contamination.
“Some things could get into the blood, and then you are dealing with the issue that some things could then cross the blood brain barrier,” he said.
So if the goal is to positively affect the skin microbiome, how to do it without probiotics? Schulick confirmed that the formulation approach will be something akin to prebiotics in the gut; i.e., presenting ingredients that can foster the growth of beneficial species and heighten skin microbiome diversity.
“I’m probably giving away too much here, but that will be our basic approach. I have been studying more about how do we respect that biodiversity, which seems to be the latest buzzword. We will be mining ancient traditions. We are working with a CRO that is testing some of our ideas, and we are in the process of setting up some partnerships with three or four top research organizations,” Schulick said.
Launch in 2019
The plan for the new line is to start rolling out products somewhere around the end of the first quarter in 2019. The ultimate goal is to return to the ingestibles market with a new line of products in mid 2020. In both cases, Schulick said, the products will be unlike what’s on the market now.
“So many companies in this industry are interested only in tracking trends instead of developing innovative products. I know that there are people out there desperate for a natural alternative to the Humiras of the world. And in the ingestibles realm, I already have at least half a dozen ideas I’m going to be working on for when I reenter in the summer of 2020,” he said.
Beauty from within webinar
NutraIngredients-USA will host a free-to-attend Beauty-from Within webinar on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 1 pm Eastern.The expert panel includes Dawna Venzon, Principal Research Scientist at Amway Nutrilite; Sarah Greenfield, director of education at HUM Nutrition; Taryn Forrelli, VP of Product at Olly; David Tyrrell, Global Skincare Analyst at Mintel; and Simon Pitman, Senior Editor of CosmeticsDesign.com. You can register for the 60-minute roundtable discussion CLICKING HERE.