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Exclusive interview

L’Oreal lifts the lid on its newly-opened Gerland R&D centre

By Simon Pitman , 22-Apr-2011
Last updated on 22-Apr-2011 at 12:51 GMT

We spoke to L’Oréal’s scientific communication director, Patricia Pinaud to find out more about the objectives behind its newly opened Predictive Evaluation Center.

The Gerland research and development center, which is situated on the outskirts of Lyon, was inaugurated earlier this month and has been dedicated to the predictive evaluation of the safety and efficacy of L’Oréal’s newly developed products.

Built at a cost of €16m, the centre will be used to test products in the early stages of development and incorporates tissue engineering, molecule design, imaging, modeling and automated test platforms.

Patricia Pinaud, L'Oreal scientific communication director

“We built the predictive evaluation center because our consumers throughout the world want innovative products that are safe and effective, and can be used in complete confidence. Ultimately it will help us to comply with consumers’ aspirations,” said Pinaud in an exclusive interview with CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

Regulatory compliance

One of the aims of the investment has also been to fulfill current and ongoing regulatory issues, both in Europe and worldwide, and much of the technology platforms at the facility have been developed around these requirements.

“Obviously the reconstructed tissue facility, together with the testing and imaging platforms in Gerland plus computational chemistry and toxicology are required but it is also mandatory to have a huge and organised patrimony of data on ingredients because part of the prediction will be based on analogy with anterior substances,” said Pinaud.

One of the most pressing issues for L’Oréal is to comply with forthcoming EU regulations that will ban the testing of cosmetic ingredients on animals, which the company says it is about to crack.

Predictive evaluation helps L'Oréal conquer animal testing

“Thanks to predictive evaluation we are on the point of being able to abandon animal testing. Above all, we are gaining a competitive advantage by reducing market authorization times,” Pinaud said.

One of the core capabilities of the centre is the tissue engineering, providing laboratory-grown skin samples to conduct life-like testing of topical products. The Garland facility will produce 130,000 skin care samples a year, and an estimated 30 per cent of which will be delivered for use in L’Oréal laboratories worldwide.

“The L’Oréal predictive evaluation center in Gerland is at the heart of a worldwide network of research centres. Other technologies are mastered or explored in France, China and Singapore and maybe later in India or Brazil,” Pinaud said.

Working towards an industry standard

In particular the company has always stressed how it has worked closely with EU authorities with the development of tissue engineering, and has continued to share its work in this area with the industry with the aim of helping to create an industry standard.

“L’Oréal is a founding member of the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches and we are very much involved in ECVAM validations. Likewise, the company is working with similar organizations in Japan (JaCVAM), Korea and China,”

The company says that the centre will also have the capacity to evaluate over 1,000 products for safety of both formulae and raw materials, as well as carry out over 100 efficacy tests on ingredients.

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