L'Oréal grants biotech incubator access to its 3D reconstructed skin models

By Julia Wray | Published: 3-Jul-2023

The deal will let Bakar Labs' start-ups benefit from L’Oréal’s non-animal safety and efficacy testing solutions for free

L’Oréal has inked a deal which could enable certain start-ups to benefit from its 3D reconstructed skin models. 

The beauty giant is partnering with biotech incubator Bakar Labs, part of the University of California (UC) Berkeley, opening up avenues for Bakar Labs’ incubated start-ups to gain free access to L’Oréal’s non-animal safety and efficacy testing solutions. 

Through the Bakar Labs’ collaboration, L’Oréal said it is looking to pioneer the next generation of beauty products, leveraging its microbiome science and Bakar Labs’ biotech expertise.

“L’Oréal has been a pioneer of 3D reconstructed skin for over 25 years, establishing alternative solutions for a world without animal testing,” said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology at L'Oréal. 

“Today, we are pleased to power Bakar Labs at UC Berkeley with this L’Oréal proprietary skintech platform to support Bakar’s best-in-class start-up ecosystem in their quest for new discoveries. 

“With a fully integrated production of 3D reconstructed skin, we will provide Bakar start-ups with whatever is needed to achieve their goals.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with L'Oréal and benefiting from their extensive experience in microbiome research and advanced biological technologies,” added UC Berkeley Professor David Schaffer, Director of Bakar Labs. 

“This collaboration will provide valuable resources and expertise to our tenant companies and allow us to work alongside L’Oréal to advance the biotechnology field across the pharmaceutical and beauty industries.”

L'Oréal's skin model history

L’Oréal has long been a pioneer in the reconstructed human skin field.

It created the first reconstructed human epidermis in 1979 and the first reconstructed human full skin model in 1986. 

The beauty giant's Episkin model gained ECVAM (the European Center for Validation of Alternative Methods to animal testing) validation to assess skin corrosion in 1998. 

Episkin was later validated by ECVAM for testing percutaneous adsorption (1999); chemical corrosion (2001); and skin irritation (2007).

In 2015, L’Oréal partnered with 3D bioprinting company Organovo Holdings to develop 3D printed skin tissue. 

It marked the first time Organovo’s technology – which results in tissues that mimic the form and function of native tissues in the human body – was deployed by the beauty industry.

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