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Silk Therapeutics Launches Cleanser Following VC Round

The skin-care business uses silk protein technology for products meant to be used during periods of health vulnerability.

Silk Therapeutics — the skin-care brainchild of two Ph.D.’s — is expanding its product lineup with a new cleanser following its latest round of funding.

Silk Therapeutics’ line hinges on patented natural silk protein technology, developed by the company’s cofounders Greg Altman, chief executive officer, and Rebecca Horan, chief operating officer. Both Altman and Horan are biomedical engineers.

Altman and Horan started Silk in 2013 with the goal of creating a luxury skin-care brand that could be used throughout periods of health vulnerability, such as pregnancy, breastfeeding or chemotherapy. The idea was in part spurred by Horan’s own skin-care battle while she was undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, and her skin became sensitive to her normal skin-care products, Altman said.

“The white space for Silk is the notion that we can create, using nothing but pure silk protein and very little else, powerful, yet clean skin-care products that work,” Altman said. “We are a boutique treatment line in antiaging and the goal is to provide immediate results without having to use harsh chemicals and additives.”

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Cleansing Silk Refresh Facial Cleanser, $36, was one of the company’s most difficult products to formulate, Altman said. “I like to call it the cleanest cleanser on the market,” Altman said. “There are 10 total ingredients…the secret formula was we were able to mix four powerful fatty acids, which work as the surfactants, that remove makeup and impurities, but we’ve been able to combine that with a high concentration of olive oil — and we do that with silk protein.” The result is a cleanser that should be safe even for sensitive and dry skin, according to Altman.

So far, the business has raised more than $10 million in venture capital backing, including a $6 million round that closed in February. Backers include the Kraft Group, Lear Corp., Highland Consumer Partners, Sheri and Roy P. Disney, Richard Sackler with Summer Road LLC, Erin Donohue and Ron Bresler of BML Group and Altman Health Investments.

Silk’s other products just launched online in April. So far, the hero has turned out to be Silk Therapeutics Silk Renewing Peel, $70 for 1 oz., or $110 for 1.7 oz., Altman said. “We’ve had to kind of distance the notion that a chemical peel has to leave you red, burning and irritated,” Altman said. “The reason we’re able to add so few ingredients is because the silk protein stabilizes the lactic and glycolic acid.” The brand’s other products include the C Advance Anti-Aging Intensive Serum, Fortify Eye Revive, Fortify Purely Smooth Daily Firming Complex, Fortify Silk + C30 Film Fine Line Diminishing Treatment and Nurture Silk + E Matte Hydration moisturizer.

Silk’s products are available online and at a handful of spas in the Boston area. The brand is on the lookout for a retail partner and is eyeing expansion into body care, men’s and baby products, according to Altman.