Bioeffect’s team of scientists developed a line of skin-care products based on decennial studies on the Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). This cellular activator was discovered by American scientist Stanley Cohen, who in turn worked on the findings of Italian researcher Rita Levi Montalcini on Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Both were awarded the Nobel prize in Physiology in 1986 for their research.

  • This discovery forever changed the understanding of human
  • growth and cellular reproduction because it established that
  • not only hormones play a part in communications at a cellular
  • level, but there is an entire family of proteins playing an active
  • role in the life of these tiny units of our existence.

Bioeffect EGF Serum uses EGF to stimulate the reproduction of skin cells, obtaining noticeable results in terms of plumpness, luminosity and natural rejuvenation of ageing skin. The cellular activator interacts with the receptor present in every skin cell and instructs it to reproduce itself, thereby generating new skin cells that thicken the skin re-donating it a natural smoothness.

The EGF used for Bioeffect products is harvested in barley plants, grown in a state of the art greenhouse that harnesses Icelandic natural resources in a state of harmony characterising the very relationship of the land with its people.


The Bioeffect spirit

In 2001 three Icelandic scientists began working on cultivating barley to produce human-like cellular activators that could have medical and cosmetic applications.

They intended to proceed respecting the Icelandic spirit and values. This implies a pioneering need for discovery that brought them to venture on bioengineering fields on which no one had previously set foot.

  • Iceland is a volcanic island that lies in the northern Atlantic and is
  • exposed to all forces of nature. Icelandic people have learned
  • to harness these forces and make them their allies.
  • Thusly the scientists decided to harvest barley in a green house
  • heated by geothermal energy and irrigated by natural spring water.
  • They chose barleyas it is a resilient crop, the only cereal that can
  • grow at that latitude.

They went on to perfect a patent pending method of harvesting human-like protein in barley. Thus eliminating chances of contamination from endotoxins and bacteria. In 2009 they established SIF cosmetics, to produce and market skin rejuvenation products containing the EGF cellular activator.

In 2010 EGF serum was put on the market, it saw immediate success, so much so that 30% of Icelandic women over the age of 30 use Bioeffect products.

Nobel Prize Winning Research

Dr. Stanely Cohen

The Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology is awarded to findings of paramount importance in the field of cell and organ growth. Every human being grows from a single cell containing the genetic code that will form the adult person. While the pattern for growth and differentiation has long been established, spawning from the first cellular division, the regulation of this development has escaped researchers for a long time.

  • In 1986 Italian developmental biologist
  • Dr Rita Levi Montalcini and American
  • biochemist Dr Stanley Cohen were
  • awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology
  • for their discovery of nerve growth
  • factor and epidermal growth factor
  • respectively. Their paths crossed more
  • than once in the previous three decades.
Rita Levi Montalcini

As Stanley Cohen recounted in his Nobel Lecture on Dec. 8 1986, it was initially in the department of Zoology of the Washington University, directed by Dr. Viktor Hamburger, that Dr. Cohen expanded on the observations made by Dr. Levi Montalcini on Nerve Growth Factor in mice. In particular he noticed that new-born mice injected with sub-maxillary gland preparations experienced a few ‘side effects’ unrelated to the activities of NGF: precocious eyelid opening along with precocious tooth eruption. Upon transferring to the Biochemistry Department at Vanderbilt University in 1959, he decided to make these ‘side effects’ the focus of his research.

The name EGF emerged from the initial reports on tissue and organ culture studies carried out by Dr. Cohen in collaboration with Dr. Levi Montalcini at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome.

The results demonstrated that EGF stimulated the proliferation of epidermal cells through a direct mitogenic action, which did not depend on systemic or hormonal influences. The Epidermal Growth Factor was proven to interact with birds as well as mammals.

The development of a two-step process to isolate mouse derived EGF protein allowed, in turn, to:
  • prove it as a potent mitogen for human cells
  • establish therefore the presence of EGF receptors in Humans
  • isolate Human EGF proteins.

Over the following decades further experiments allowed Dr. Cohen and his peers to better understand the way EGF operates and interacts with cells.

How EGF rejuvenation works

We now know that Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is a low molecular weight polypeptide (protein), it is also one of several cytokines, that is a family of chemicals that cells use to communicate and interact with each other. Among cytokines are the growth factors, as can be gathered by their very name they play an active role in growth. They are also involved in healing damaged or dead tissues.

Skin cell receptors and EGF in action The EGF recognises and binds to a specific receptor on the outer surface of skincells. The receptor in turn delivers a message to the cell nucleus – the “control centre” of the cell – through a complex signalling cascade. In the nucleus, the message is translated into different cellular activities, leading to increased production of collagen and elastin within the skin.

EGF exercises its healing properties when applied to the outermost layer of human skin, that is the very Epidermis that gives it its name. This results in a thickening of the epidermis which in aesthetic terms means a more plump skin, a younger appearance. This happens in direct contrast with the thinning caused by ageing.

This assumption moved a team of Icelandic scientists to experiment the possible cosmetic uses of EGF.In 2001 they began studying how to make the best of this natural biochemical wonder and over a decade of research determined the best course was to develop EGF in plants, as to avoid any human or animal endotoxin that could generate with the more traditional bacteria culture approach.

In 2009 the EGF serum was ready. In a study carried out through the months of December 2009 and January 2010 [Author: H. Vidarsson, PhD], 72 volunteers, predominantly between 30 to 50 years old, applied the BIOEFFECT EGF Serum to their face and neck after cleansing, every night for a period of 1‐6 weeks, and responded to a survey about the results. The group was split in two equal parts, one part using BIOEFFECT EGF Serum and the other part using an identical BIOEFFECT EGF Serum, but with lower EGF concentration.

Furthermore a double blind, placebo study was carried out with the Soft Plus Skin Analysing System (Callegari 1930), on a group of women aged 30 to 70, where two-thirds used BIOEFFECT EGF Serum whilst the rest were given an identical-looking product without EGF. They used these on their foreheads, cheeks and EYE areas twice daily for four weeks.

  • After 4 weeks, subjects showed a significant reduction in wrinkles around the eye area. All subjects showed a visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • A 20% improvement in skin elasticity around the eyes
  • A dramatic 40% improvement in skin hydration after only four days

The Bioeffect products have been called a miracle antiageing treatment since being sold to the public, they are an extraordinary result of applied bioengineering and cosmetic expertise. The sustainability of the entire production process derives directly from the Icelandic spirit and the utmost respect of nature that characterises it.

Pharming Egf: why Barley?

Barley Pharming

Barley is an extraordinarily adaptable cereal crop that can easily grow at high latitudes and altitudes, it is also the world’s most ancient farmed cereal. When The Bioeffect team decided to cultivate EGF in plant seeds barley seemed like a perfect fit, being it by far the largest agricultural production in Iceland.

Thus began the pharming process, the term pharming commonly refers to a sector of the biotechnology industry that involves the genetical engineering of plants. Pharming aims at harvesting, within the plants, proteins that can have human application.

In the case of Bioeffect, EGF is produced within the very barley seeds that grow inside the Bioeffect Factory (i.e.BIOEFFECT's 2.000 square meter greenhouse on the Reykjanes peninsula in Iceland).

Barley presents a peculiar structure that favours the enhancement of its DNA code, which contains the instructions to produce protein such as human EGF. Each bottle of EGF Serum contains seeds from at least 100 barley plants.

  • These plants grow on volcanic pumice and are watered with
  • pure Icelandic spring water, the factory uses renewable
  • geothermal energy for heating and lighting. The whole
  • bioeffect production is therefore environmentally substainable
  • and respects the Icelandic value of working with nature rather
  • than against or despite it.


Epidermal Growth Factor is a protein that interacts with skin cells instructing them to reproduce through mitosis. It naturally exists in the human body where it plays a crucial role in growth, development, and healing of the skin.

EGF was discovered by Dr Stanley Cohen and Dr Rita Levi Montalcini in the 1950s. Their research revolutionised the understanding of human cells and their growth and regeneration processes. For this accomplishment they were awarded the Nobel prize for Physiology in 1986.

The concoction of genuine love for science, respect for nature, Icelandic spirit, and aim for purity generated a gem of applied bioengineering known as Bioeffect. Three Icelandic scientists gathered to research therapeutic and cosmetic applications of the nobel prize winning discovery called Epidermal Growth Factor.

Their guiding star was natural purity, this brought them to engineer a patent pending method of harvesting human protein in Barley seeds; thus ridding the process of the risk of contamination with endotoxins and bacteria, very common in different methods of EGF culture. In 2009 the EGF serum was produced in a factory that derives all its energy from the Icelandic environment, plants are grown in Volcanic Pumice, inside a greenhouse heated with geothermal energy, and irrigated with natural spring water. The products have proven extraordinary in the rejuvenation of ageing skin, with noticeable results of luminosity and plumpness within the very first few applications.