Skin Protection From Oxidative Stress Combined with Treating Over-Pigmentation Disorders

Atlas Daphne, HUJI, Faculty of Science, The Alexander Silberman Institute for Life Sciences



Life Sciences and Biotechnology   


inflammation melanin production, antioxidants tyrosinase apoptosis

Current development stage

General list: TRL4 Technology validated in lab    

For Pharmaceutical development: TRL3 - hypothesis testing and intial POC demonstrated in limited # of in-vitro models


There is a great demand for treatment of over pigmentation disorders such as chronic sun pigments, liver spot, age spots, melasma, freckles as well as demand for skin whitening products. However, most of these products include the banned ingredient hydroquinone, a bleaching agent, or other carcinogenic reagents, causing significant side effects. The current challenges are to generate non-toxic treatment and a safe and potent product for skin-whitening and other over-pigmentation disorders.

Our innovation
The Primary use of the technology is a membrane penetrating protective peptides that will inhibit the melanogenesis process in the skin, concomitantly protecting the cells from oxidative stress/UV stress. The compounds are:



Display anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic activities

Potent tyrosinase inhibitors

We prepared the novel peptides for protecting the cells by activating the inflammatory and apoptotic pathway, and inhibiting tyrosinase activity. In cellular studies we tested the anti-inflammatory activity and tyrosinase inhibition of several such novel peptides.  We used Auranofin to inhibit thioredoxin reductase activity and trigger oxidative stress.  The strong oxidative stress induced by Auranofin leads to the activation of the inflammatory and apoptotic pathways as demonstrated by the phosphorylation of JNK1/2, and p38MAPK.  The different peptides of the invention have been demonstrated to be very effective in:

  • Reversing the oxidative stress induced MAPK inflammation/apoptotic pathway
  • Restoration of oxidative stress induced altered cell morphology
  • Increased keratinocytes survival after exposure to oxidative stress
  • Display inhibitory tyrosinase activity as measured using the mushroom tyrosinase assay
  • In addition to the above it can also be used to treat over-pigmentation disorders and to promote skin lightening

As opposed to existing reagents that are toxic to the skin, we suggest novel friendly molecules that inhibit the activation of multiple signaling pathways that lead to skin related inflammation, apoptosis, as well as enhanced gene expression of tyrosinase. These novel small molecular weight peptides, in addition to protecting the cells from oxidative stress due to UV scavenging, also display skin whitening and preventing melanogenesis. They and are linked to signaling pathways that inhibit apoptosis, gene expression and inflammatory mediators.

The compounds are suitable for use for oxidative/radiation skin damages including over pigmentation disorders as well as for skin lightening active ingredient in cosmetics.

Per a recent World Health Organization report (WHO), half of the population in Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines uses some form of skin lightening treatment. And it is even higher in India (60%) and African countries, such as Nigeria (77%). It is also common in the U.S. with bleaching agents such as hydroquinone commonly used in products that treat discoloration and hyperpigmentation. By 2027, the skin whitening industry is projected to be worth over $24 billion dollars.


Contact for more information:

Mel Larrosa
VP Business Development Healthcare
Contact ME: