As I reflect on the recent IMCAS conference in Paris (11,000 attendees strong), I am extremely bullish on the innovations taking place within skin health and am greatly encouraged that many leading players globally share our holistic view of this universe.
Over the past decade, skin health -- which encompasses medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, aesthetic medicine, plastic surgery, and general beauty and wellness -- has evolved to become a complex, deep and diverse category within the healthcare ecosystem that touches a huge portion of the population.
Skin is our largest organ
25% of Americans have an active skin condition
20% of adults will likely develop some form of skin cancer
The average female uses twelve skincare products daily, with 168 unique ingredients
The average male uses six skincare products daily, with 85 unique ingredients
Consumer demographics in aesthetic treatments are shifting – increase in younger consumers (i.e., millennials) seeking preventative treatments, more men pursuing non-surgical procedures such as botulinum toxin injections, dermal fillers, and body contouring
As we survey the changing landscape in skin health and evaluate potential investments, we’ve begun segmenting the opportunities across the following themes:
Novel Therapeutics: New chemical entities, formulations, and delivery mechanisms are in high demand by the market as consumers seek out products with better, longer-lasting results. Furthermore, new treatments are emerging that leverage the body’s endogenous properties to heal itself, such as therapies targeting the skin microbiome, scaffolds to facilitate tissue regeneration, and anti-fibrotics to treat and prevent scarring.
Technological Advancements: As is the case among most industries, and across healthcare in general, technology is playing the needed disruptor role across skin health. Less-invasive, more standardized treatments via medical devices are increasing the velocity of treatments and broadening the consumer base. Areas where we see enormous potential through these technologies include body contouring and cancer detection. Furthermore, technology is transforming the relationship between companies, providers, and customers. Some examples include: consumer facing apps and services such as Spruce and DermatologistOnCall increasing patient access to dermatologists, social media becoming a key marketing and patient education tool, and companies crafting personalized products based on genotypic and phenotypic data provided by customers.
Solutions Targeting Large Unmet Needs: Approximately 30 million Americans and an equal number of Europeans live with a rare disease. The medical community estimates that there can be as many as 7,000 rare diseases and over 1,000 of them pertain to the skin. Patients suffering from a rare disease experience decreased quality of life (QOL) and regulatory bodies have created incentives to advance treatments for historically underserved populations. Beyond rare diseases, other skin conditions that affect QOL such as hyperhidrosis, vitiligo, and hair loss are also in need of easy-to-use, long-lasting solutions. And while treatments are becoming available, such as the 2018 launch of Dermira’s Qbrexza for excessive underarm sweat, opportunities are still abundant.
Driven by the dual trend lines of people living longer and skincare becoming more front and center among younger generations, skin health, aging, and wellness are to be viewed through a broad lens and as a ripe opportunity for innovation.
As we look ahead to the American Academy of Dermatology’s Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., we couldn’t be more excited and invigorated to invest in skin health’s leaders of tomorrow to help improve the quality of life and health trajectory for millions globally.
Ethan Rigel, Founding and Managing Partner