Unilever has taken its first step into the growing microbiome skincare market with the acquisition of a minority stake in Gallinée.

Launched in 2016 by Marie Drago, a pharmacist with 15 years’ experience in the skincare industry, Gallinée is “the first personal care brand to focus exclusively on the growing science of the human bacterial ecosystem”.

The brand, which funded its first production run with a Kickstarter campaign, was inspired by Marie’s desire to create products that support the skin’s good bacteria – her pharmacy thesis formed the basis for the probiotics, prebiotics and postbiotics that are the core of the Gallinée range.”

Designed with sensitive skin in mind and “tested successfully for atopy-prone skin”, the brand is now stocked in department stores and pharmacies in France and the UK as well as online, and will soon be available on Zalando Germany and QVC France.

Unilever Ventures director Anna Ohlsson-Baskerville says the venture capital arm of Unilever was impressed by Gallinée’s level of innovation and consistency.

“It is rare to find such young brands with the right mix of science and consumer focus,” she said.

“I look forward to working with Marie and her team to build upon the company’s momentum and many growth opportunities.”

Marie says Unilever’s funding and expertise will be invaluable to Gallinée.

“It will allow us to keep innovating in the microbiome field though new studies and products, expand our online business and extend to new territories, especially the US.”

The company also plans to “double-down on e-commerce, hire an experienced head of e-commerce and expand its global direct retail operation”.