On the other side of the spectrum, too small peptides and fragments of proteins do exhibit a reasonable degree of penetration, yet their potency suffers because of their small interaction surface. Additionally, smaller interaction surfaces tend to come with off-target interaction, which can lead to off-target toxicity. Considering the importance of this trade-off on the size of active ingredient, Activen has focused/devoted itself on miniproteins.

Miniproteins are a subset of natural proteins that have been mostly overlooked by researchers in the past decades. They can be defined as chains of 10-50 amino acids (1’000 to 5’000 Dalton) folded in a 3D structure. Although being expressed in most – if not all – species, they represent a tiny fraction (less than 0.1%) of all natural proteins. Notably, most miniproteins have no reported functions yet (>99%), thus opening the way to many more discoveries.

Thanks to their size and 3D folded structure, our Miniproteins™ provide good penetration together with a high and specific efficacy on a given target, making them ideal candidates to become the new generation of active ingredients.

Although proteins have revolutionized the pharmaceutical industry, they have not impacted the cosmetic field since they are simply too big to penetrate the skin. Many molecules of high interest are also unfortunately too big to reach the deep layers of the skin. This is the case of collagen, hyaluronic acid, or growth factors. To date, nobody has yet found the means to deliver such large molecules into the skin without having to rely on invasive delivery systems.

Proteins are the key components of all living organisms.
They are composed of amino acid chains folded in a 3D structure.
Each protein is unique thanks to its specific sequence of amino acids, which is encoded in DNA (the protein gene).


Miniproteins™ are thus selected from Nature, then characterized, optimized, and manufactured in Switzerland under the strictest quality standards and with an optimal supply chain. They show an excellent toxicology profile, and their best-in-class efficacy is proven under the golden standards of substantiation.

At Activen we firmly believe that Miniproteins™ are set to take dermo-cosmetics to the next level as more and more candidates are identified within the miniprotein blue ocean.