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Verso Journal

The science behind professional skincare

    16 · 10 · 2022

Verso Skincare’s science-first philosophy was, of course, ever-present during the eight years of development of NEAR 1, our very own patented molecule. 

To materialize the vision of creating something with the best formulations, the best formulas, and the best efficacy, we sought the assistance of Doctor Graziano Castaldi. From his laboratory outside of Milan, he focused on the crucial parts of the process; building the molecule, stabilizing it, and making it soluble.

We had the opportunity to speak to Doctor Castaldi about the science behind skincare and NEAR 1.


Place of birth and country:

Novara, Italy

Professional background: 

Ph. D. in Chemistry at the University of Milan.

Has held numerous scientific positions both in Italy and abroad. Amongst them, Director of R&D at Zambon Group S.p.A. (Italy), CEO at Chemessentia s.r.l. Chemo Group (Madrid) and CEO at Chemelectiva s.r.l. (Italy).

Author of 35 scientific publications in the leading journals worldwide and inventor of more than 150 patents granted worldwide.

Interests & hobbies:

Reading & sports, biking, and hiking


Wife: Adriana, daughter: Marta, son: Michele 

Dr. Castaldi, thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

- It is a pleasure for me to tell our story and the common adventure with Verso in the cosmetic world.

You are running Chemelectiva, a laboratory located outside of Milan; can you tell us a little about the company and the types of projects the lab has been involved in? 

- The company was started in 2008 with the goal to become an important player in the field of process development of active pharmaceutical ingredients. So far Chemelectiva developed many processes for pharmaceutical new products that were successfully transferred in industrial plants for commercial production. Parallelly the same approach was also applied to cometic active ingredients now used in commercial final cosmetic products.

The development of NEAR 1 started already in 2014. Can you tell us about how you became part of the process and met our CEO, Lars?

- I meet Lars in 2010 and started collaboration for Retinyl Retinoate now regularly manufactured and supplied by means of Chemelectiva’s technology. This first success was a driving discussion tighter with Lars to find a new and innovative molecule with superior performance. Indeed we successfully design and develop NEAR 1.

We live by a science-first philosophy at Verso Skincare, so cooperating with you in developing the NEAR 1 molecule has been very rewarding. As we know, molecules are the base for chemistry, and an example of a molecule is H2O (water). Could you please help describe how it was to create a new molecule?

- The strategy to build up a new molecule is to start from simple commercial ones and through the scientific knowledge about how to create a chemical bond design and achieve the puzzle. The final puzzle is represented by the target new molecule assembled by binding the available simple available pieces.

One would assume that operating a lab development project is a rigorous and time-consuming task. Can you take us through some of the general steps of the process? 

- Yes, it is quite time-consuming. First of all it requires the investigation of the reaction condition to achieve the desired conversion and then development phase is started. The latter is requiring time due to the parametrization of the condition necessary to the scale-up and industrialization of the process taking into account the final quality, the safety, the environmental impact and waste treatment, and last but least the costs.

You and your team have been involved in projects for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic fields over the years. What was your main challenge when developing the NEAR 1 molecule?

- The main challenge was to define the chemistry (reagents and conditions) to be adopted to achieve the designed new bonds and so the final new molecule.

One part of the molecule is Vitamin A; what are the characteristics and benefits of Vitamin A in modern skincare?

- Vitamin A is well recognized and effectively used in the systemic and topical treatment beneficially affecting various biological activity such as differentiation of various epithelial tissues.

Niacinamide is the other half of the NEAR 1 molecule. It acts as an enabler and stabilizer of Vitamin A in the molecule. Could you give us a bird’s eye view of how that works? 

- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is well known for its antioxidant properties protecting skin from the visible effects of environmental stressors. Indeed, the idea was to connect Vitamin A with Vitamin B3 in a stable way to generate a new molecule with enhanced skin protecting properties, as indeed found in NEAR 1.

The breakthrough moment in a process like this, would you say, could be compared to winning a marathon? Running a great distance, consuming much energy, and then succeeding.

- More than a marathon was with an obstacle course as long as a marathon.

Again, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and being an integral part of the birth of NEAR 1.

- No problem always a pleasure to share these important explanation about NEAR 1 and to contribute to its success.