UK / Norwegian team develop living skin equivalent testing model

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

UK / Norwegian team develop living skin equivalent testing model

Related tags European union

Epistem, a UK biotechnology company with expertise in skin biology, has teamed up with ScandiDerma, a Norwegian company specialised in developing new dermatological ingredients from biomass to develop an in vitro human living skin equivalent model for testing inflammatory responses.

The venture has been made possible through the UK's Technology Strategy Board and Innovation Norway following a successful application for funding in a recent ‘Sustainable high value chemical manufacture through industrial biotechnology’ competition.

The project starts this month and will run until March 2014, which is set to take place at project leader Epistem's facilities in Manchester, UK and ScandiDerma's facilities in Barents Biocenter, Tromsø.

According to the UK's Epistem, the model is a novel method that will add to the field of dermatological testing as a whole and help create more activity in extracting high value compounds from biomass.

Its' CEO Matthew Walls further noted that; "the collaboration with ScandiDerma presents an exciting opportunity to leverage Epistem's strong scientific background in skin biology and inflammation to address the shortage of robust human dermatology models for testing inflammatory responses​."

While for ScandiDerma, its CEO Ingeborg Pernille Nedal added that the venture "is an important milestone in building up our competence around test-systems and how to rapidly determine good lead candidates from our bioprospecting activities​."

Sweeping ban on animal testing in the EU is driving this research for alternatives

This collaboration follows on the heels of the European Union’s ban on the import and sale of cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals, and both firms reckon this project will offer the industry a highly effective and essential alternative.

Others paving the way in this area of late include; Bio-Modeling and Persistent Systems who worked together to develop an R&D program they believe will result in the first heuristic model of skin cell interplay mechanisms for allergy testing.  

According to the companies, the initiative is the world’s first collaborative effort to encompass non-mathematical heuristic modeling with that of mathematical, to increase the success rates of drug discovery and formulation development in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.

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