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Local operation taps in to the lucrative US cosmetics market

THE face of the US cosmetics industry is about to get a make over thanks to a new preservative developed by WA company Chemeq.

Chemeq – a research-based veterinary pharmaceutical com-pany – recently announced its revolutionary anti-microbial drug would be used in Asian piggeries to protect piglets against E.coli.

A modified version of the drug last week received appr-oval from the US Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Assoc-iation to be used as a cosmetics preservative.

“It is very important to us, we are very excited about the approval as it means the preservative product is now authorised to be sold in the biggest market in the world,” Chemeq chairman and chief executive officer Graham Melrose said.

In a market worth more than $300 million, the preservative, Chemyde, already has proven a leader, with research indicating it is between five and 150 times more effective than the two market-leading products.

“The preservatives currently used in cosmetics and derma-tological products must make an uncomfortable compromise between safety and effective-ness,” Dr Melrose said.

“Often if it is very safe, then it is not very effective in killing the germs, and if it is very effective then it is not always very safe.”

He said Chemyde was highly effective due to the highly reactive function groups in the preservative molecule.

“The molecules react with protein which is ever present in the cell walls of any germ,” Dr Melrose said. “The molecule attaches itself to the outer protein layer of the germ, reacts and ruptures the walls and then breaks the germ down.

“But the molecule is also incredibly safe. Because of its size it can’t pass through skin membranes and then into the bloodstream to cause irritation or allergy.”

After perfumes, research has identified preservatives as the most common cause of irritation and allergy associated with makeup.

Dr Melrose said Chemeq was now pushing to move into full production and expected to be exporting the preservative with-in 12 to 18 months.

“The plant will be produce 25 tonnes of the product a year, but most of that will be used in vet-erinary pharmaceuticals,” he said.

But before moving into the production phase, Chemeq will have to move house.

Currently located at Tech-nology Park, Bentley, Chemeq has worked with LandCorp to find suitable site for a production plant on Patterson Road, East Rockingham.

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