French cosmetics brand L’Oreal is looking to 3D print skin as a more effective means of testing its products on live tissue.
Partnering with bioprinting startup Organovo, the firm, which produces a vast range of beauty and cosmetic goods, is looking to sidestep the ethical and legal complications sparked by animal testing.
At its tech incubator in Lyon, France, the company produces over 100,000 skin samples a year with the help of 60 scientists, according to Bloomberg.
Under current measures, skin is donated by cosmetic surgery patients, where it is broken down to a cellular level and replicated in the lab.
Guive Balooch, global vice president of L’Oreal’s tech incubator, told Bloomberg: “We create an environment that's as close as possible to being inside someone's body/
“It takes about a week for the samples to form, because the skin has different layers and you have to grow them in succession."
Keith Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer at Organovo, added: "We are excited to be partnering with L'Oreal... this partnership is a great next step to expand the applications of Organovo's 3-D bioprinting technology and to create value for both L'Oreal and Organovo by building new breakthroughs in skin modeling."
With the help of Organovo, L’Oreal is looking to automate the skin production process, with the company looking to streamline the process which currently sees it sell half of its skin output to rivals and pharma firms.
If you want to see skin production in action (you really don't), check out Organovo's video below.