L’Oreal, because your 3D-printed skin is worth it

19 May 2015

Cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal is aiming to take the first steps to remove human skin from the entire product-testing cycle with the help of Organovo’s 3D bio-printing equipment.

The 3D bio-printing company in question, Organovo, will work with the US part of the company initially to develop its Novogen Bioprinting Platform, which will enable the reproducible, automated creation of living human tissues that mimic the form and function of native tissues in the body.

The company says it will work with L’Oreal to build upon 30 years of research and artificial skin development that the cosmetics company has already undertaken to limit the amount of testing done on animals.

According to Engadget, a team of 60 L’Oreal researchers currently produces as much as 100,000 samples of artificial skin each year, which it sources from skin that has been donated after plastic surgery procedures.

The cosmetics company then breaks down the skin to a cellular level and essentially re-grows it until it is just 0.5cm in size.

Not only skin deep

When the final skin sample is developed, Organovo will be able to sell its newly-created tissues for other forms of skin testing, except when it comes to cosmetics, which L’Oreal has exclusive rights to.

Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s Technology Incubator said: “Organovo has broken new ground with 3D bio-printing, an area that complements L’Oreal’s pioneering work in the research and application of reconstructed skin for the past 30 years.

“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.”

Skin image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic