A special cream developed at Cincinnati Children’s more than 15 years ago to help protect the fragile skin of premature infants may be heading into the world of cosmeceuticals.

Sirona Biochem Corp., based in Vancouver, has formalized a license agreement to use Cincinnati Children's patented synthetic vernix technology to make a new anti-aging skin cream. The company plans to combine the synthetic vernix with its own patented product: a cell preservation glycoprotein derived from studying how fish prevent their bodies from freezing in cold Antarctic waters.

The resulting new product will be patented with the goal of licensing the new technology to larger companies in the cosmetics and therapeutics markets. Sirona and Cincinnati Children's have structured their collaboration to also support any future patents and applications that may be discovered for this combined technology.

Synthetic vernix was developed by Marty Visscher, PhD, Director of the Skin Sciences Institute at Cincinnati Children’s. The product mimics the white substance that coats the skin of newborn infants. Vernix has a “waterproofing” quality that protects skin in utero, helps prevent heat loss after birth, and acts as an initial barrier against bacteria.

Sirona’s glycoprotein also was recently endorsed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Fabien Cousteau – the son and grandson of the famed undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau – as an example of a responsible use of ocean resources.