top of page

In Vivo Microbiome Testing Service for Personal Care Products

At Sequential, we have developed a complete end-to-end solution to support microbiome R&D, formulation support and claims support. In 2019, we launched the world’s first at-home skin microbiome test kit (here) through Sequential Skin, and since then we have developed our B2B offering under Sequential (here).

Sequential is formed by an award-winning team of scientists that is leading the way in microbiome analysis and detection: we are the first skin microbiome company to carry out in vivo testing (testing on the human skin) via an end-to-end service – from consultation, testing kits, to analysis and results, post-study consultation including claims substantiation and “Maintains the Microbiome in vivo” certification, as well as formulation optimisation.

To date, we have analysed over 12,000 skin microbiome samples, deriving an AI-driven platform to improve formulation design, through working with 30 personal care, and skincare companies – such as Johnson & Johnson, Arcaea, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Clinique La Prairie, Vavin, and the Wella Company.

Our microbiome technology is backed by some of the world's most prominent investors such as Metaplanet, Scrum Ventures, SOSV, Genedant, Ben Holmes (ex. Index Ventures), Innovate UK, and we are a resident company of Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS.

Sequential officially launched in March 2022 (here) and since then we have developed scalp, oral, and vulva microbiome testing kits as new products.

We are headquartered in London UK, with testing labs in NYC and Singapore.

Why is Sequential innovative?

Sequential is developing first-in-class innovative microbiome solutions for the cosmetic and skincare industry. Since conception in 2017, we’ve launched first-of-its-kind products to help drive forward and advance R&D on the human microbiome.

The human skin microbiome is incredibly complex and relies on a systems biology approach to understand the presence, function, and relationships between microbes on the skin. In medical research, in vitro experiments have been used for the past century in understanding the basic function of the cell, however, they often fail in translating what's really happening in – or on – the human body. In the context of the skin microbiome, this is because the microbe behaves very differently when they’re taken out of their natural environment – and network with other microbes and biofilm.

The only way to test a specific species or strain of microbe is to test it within its ‘real-world’ context – or in vivo. This is where the innovative solutions of Sequential come in.

We have developed rigorous experimental designs for longitudinal studies that allow us to measure the specific amount of micro-organisms using qPCR, giving us quantitative information on species and strain level of over 20+ microbes found on the skin in vivo. By testing at several time points over 2-4 weeks of product usage, we can have confidence in how the skin microbiome is truly being affected.

Our database on the skin microbiome and products are extensive, which allows us to have a clear understanding of how products and ingredients are having an effect on the microbiome.

Our Sequential Patch is a skin microbiome testing solution that can be employed to ensure more consistent collection and we have shown more reliable results than using a swab for collection in longitudinal studies. We’ve also shown higher DNA and RNA amounts, which improves the quality of data we can present to our clients, and to their customers.

Industry Challenges & Our Solutions

16S/ITS Sequencing on the microbiome doesn’t resolve species or strain level information

Sequential uses shotgun metagenomic sequencing in our R&D, to understand critical species and strains that are influenced by cosmetic products and influence skin health. We have developed highly specific probes to measure the absolute quantity of these species or strains, down to the copy number. This gives us much more confidence that the microbiome is changing, not just at the community diversity level but at the individual species and strain level.

A challenge has also been to have a sufficient database to know which strains of micro-organisms are critical for skin health

Sequential has leveraged early datasets from our key advisors, Dr Paola de Sessions, Dr Tom Dawson and Dr Niranjan Nagarajan, to start with a strong foundation of a skin microbiome database. Since then, we have worked with 30+ clients to collect over 12,000 skin microbiome samples which give us a solid understanding of skin microbiome and how products and ingredients affect it.

Human biological data is highly sensitive and individuals are concerned about data privacy

Sequential uses highly secure encrypted AWS servers to store our microbiome data, in order to perform analysis and results. Only two people in Sequential Bio have direct access to this database and it is securely protected from anyone else having access. Finally, the personal details (name, address, contact details) of the individual samples are de-identified so there’s no way of being able to trace who each microbiome sample comes from.

Some companies outsource microbiome testing to third parties

A challenge here for the end client is that the price is higher, the quality isn’t always ensured, and the data is shared with another group. Sequential develops all our microbiome probes to test species and strains of micro-organisms in-house and therefore owns the entire process. This ensures higher quality service and a lower end cost to the client we work with.

If you are interested in carrying out any research with us and testing products, you can reach us at

Our Press Releases


bottom of page