A huge improvement could shake the cosmetic testing field very soon. L’Oreal, the French world leader in beauty cosmetics, mostly known for its make-up and hair care products, has just started a partnership with Organovo to print human skin.
The amazing thing here is that L’Oreal has already been thinking about giving priority to human skin tests to avoid animal testing for 30 years now! Indeed, the corporation’s subsidiary Episkin in Lyon (France), is already selling human skin tissues. L’Oreal currently produces about 100,000 small skin samples every year. Half of these samples go to the cosmetic giant’s personal needs and the rest is sold to its competitors or other pharma companies.
These samples are grown from tissues donated by plastic surgery patients. Once received, Episkin slices the tissues into cells and then feeds them with the appropriate molecules, allowing the skin sample to gain a new 0.5 square centimeter in just over one week. According to Bloomberg, these skin samples cost €62 a piece.
With Organovo’s collaboration, L’Oreal wants to speed up the production and automate the process over the next five years in order to reduce the cost of human skin samples. The development of this research project will take place in the new center of L’Oreal, based in California and in the premises of Organovo in San Diego.
According to the term of the partnership, L’Oreal will provide its expertise in human skin and all initial funding, while Organovo will bring its 3D printing technology, already used by Merck to print liver and kidney tissues.
Organovo’s NovoGen Bioprinting Platform works by taking a skin biopsy, from which particular cells are isolated and multiplied. Then, cells are kept alive in a medium to provide oxygen and nutrients, before putting the blend in a 3D printer cartridge which prints the new skin, layer by layer. You can see Organovo’s printing skin process in this video:
This first-ever collaboration between Organovo’s groundbreaking technology and the beauty industry is a smart move from L’Oreal. The French company will receive all exclusive rights to the 3D printed skin developed with Organovo, and thus, secure its access to this technology whilst, at the same time, protect itself against other competitors.
Talking about L’Oreal as a Biotech company may surprise more than one individual… L’Oreal spends more than €1 billion annually for its private army of 3,800 scientists around the world. With L’Oreal in command, we can already foresee a successful future for Organovo’s technology and much hope for the enemies of barbaric animal testing!