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L’Oreal knows that the business of beauty is as much a science as it is an art. Since it nixed animal testing in 2003, the French cosmetic firm has relied on models of “reconstructed human epidermis”—essentially skin samples grown from post-surgical donor tissues—to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its products. Although L’Oreal’s dedicated lab facilities in Lyon grow roughly 54 square feet—or about a full cow’s worth—of skin a year, the company wants to speed up and even automate the process. That’s where Organovo comes in. The San Diego–based startup made headlines in 2014 for creating the world’s first functional liver using three-dimensional printing.
Organovo is now working to combine its specially formulated “bio-ink” technology with L’Oreal’s funding and expertise to replicate the skin-engineering process on a larger, more precise scale.
Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s U.S.-based Technology Incubator, says the collaboration has the potential to disrupt—even transform—the beauty industry.
“Our partnership will not only bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance, but the potential for where this new field of technology and research can take us is boundless,” Balooch says in a statement.
According to Bloomberg Business, L’Oreal will have exclusive rights to the 3D-printed skin for uses relating to non-prescription skincare products, while Organovo will retain rights to the tissue models for prescription-drug and toxicity tests, as well as the development of therapeutic or surgically transplanted tissues.
[Via Bloomberg Business]