B.A.I. Biosciences has introduced its first skin care brand.
The company, founded by Sophie Bai, has introduced a sun care line called Pavise. It launches online March 23. Prices range from $54 for a serum cleanser to $176 for a UV camera that allows consumers to spot check their sun protection.
The brand’s other products include a facial sunscreen and three shades of lip oil with SPF 30.
Bai, who also helms the business as its chief executive officer, has a track record spanning both biotechnology and business. She studied chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under professor Robert Langer, one of Moderna’s cofounders, who has also developed beauty brands, including Living Proof. Langer serves on B.A.I. Biosciences’ board. Prior to founding her eponymous company, she was a health care investor at Bain Capital, as well as a consultant for Boston Consulting Group.
Bai’s interest in skin care came from personal experience. “Skin has always been a passion of mine because I never had good skin, I had cystic acne and eczema growing up. I was kicked out of a public speaking contest — they told me I ‘looked ugly,’ so skin is something I want to create solutions for,” Bai said. “I want to use biotechnology and drug design principles to create a plethora of molecules that could actually change how we treat and care for skin.”
Bai first saw the opportunity in sun care because of the lack of innovation in the category, which is government-regulated.
“Sun care is a very stagnant industry; there hasn’t been any innovation for the past 15 to 20 years. We use the same filters, we tell the same stories, but there’s a gap in what gives you the best UVA protection,” Bai said. “UVA is 95 percent of the environment, but SPF mainly only measures UVB. Why do we only care about 5 percent of UV rays when the other 95 percent cause wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, volume loss, dark spots and melasma?”
The products are mineral sunscreens using patent-pending DiamondCore Shield Molecular Technology, which promises protection from all forms of visible light and UV rays. “We created the structure to incorporate nanodiamond into zinc, which makes it five times better in terms of scattering UVA and UVB rays,” Bai said. “We are able to create a product that is better in terms of UVA and UVB blocking ability.”
Outside of the technology, each product contains familiar skin care ingredients. The facial SPF includes bisabolol, niacinamide, tranexamic acid and astaxanthin, among others; different weights of hyaluronic acid and bisabolol comprise the lip oil. The cleanser also includes amino acids, glycolic acid and niacinamide. Bai didn’t comment on sales, but industry sources estimate the company to reach $20 million in Pavise’s first year on the market.
“There’s a lag between what’s happening in academia then translating into clinical settings, and then into mass consumers,” Bai said. She is also creating new molecules and technologies off of which she’ll start new beauty brands, when the time is right. “This company is a biotech company, and we have more than 20 molecules in the pipeline,” Bai said. “Eczema is something I’m determined to cure in my lifetime.”