In June 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, The European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR) and healthcare companies Galderma, LEO Pharma and Celgene announced they had joined forces to found The Skin Science Foundation (SSF). The brainchild of the ESDR, the SSF will accelerate next generation skincare by using cutting-edge science to better understand skin health and its transition to disease.

Commenting on the launch, Professor Michel Gilliet, President of the SSF and immediate Past President of the ESDR, said, ‘this is an historic moment. For the last 400 years, medical science has focused primarily on developing solutions to treat skin disease. Now, technology enables us to understand the factors that contribute to healthy skin. If we can understand why skin becomes unhealthy, then we can work out how to predict disease and intervene early enough to prevent it.’

The SSF will leverage the power of big data and machine learning to analyse everyday information emanating from standard blood tests, multi-omics analyses, and new wearable devices in order to apply a systems medicine, personalised approach to skincare. It will begin by undertaking a review of existing skin research data for one particular disease before moving on to others. It will then solicit applications from skin science laboratories for clinical trials focused on at-risk populations to generate prospective patient data.

‘The potential of this collaboration is significant. Multiple healthcare companies and skin science laboratories are joining forces for the first time with the same vision. This approach could lead to new discoveries that prevent disease, new diagnostic devices that help detect the early signs of disease and new services that enable patients to participate in their own health,’ Thibaud Portal, Vice President, Prescription Strategy and Innovation Group of Galderma, observed.

Rather than build capacity in-house, The SSF will provide skin science centres around Europe with access to expertise in big data and systems biology. The goal is to catalyse collaboration within the skin science community. As the SSF gathers momentum, it will announce more partners who share its vision and values. Over time, its work will have implications for governments and insurance companies.

Kim Domela Kjoeller, Executive Vice President of Global Research & Development at LEO Pharma added, ‘The future of healthcare is already here. No lab, company or government can do this alone. This is a systemic problem, which requires a systemic solution.

Everyone has been building their own big data platforms, but the real power of data is in combining it in one place for the benefit of patients. Imagine the implications for psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, which affect millions of people around the world,’ continued Volker Koscielny, Vice President Global Medical Affairs, Immunology and Inflammation at Celgene.

Professor Chris Griffiths OBE (President-Elect of the ESDR) concluded “Medicine is moving from the current reactive construct to one that is proactive, predictive and preventive. When applied to skincare, this will manifest as a focus on maintaining wellness or skin health. The formation of the SSF, in a powerful academic-industrial collaboration, will facilitate the development of cutting edge skin care that promotes this new philosophy”.


The Skin Science Foundation | Geneva Founded by ESDR

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