L’Oréal turns attention to testing alternatives in China as it ramps up regional business

By Andrew MCDOUGALL

- Last updated on GMT

L’Oréal turns attention to testing alternatives in China as it ramps up regional business

Related tags: China

As the biggest cosmetics company in the world, and one of the most active in China, with new plans announced to ramp up operations further, L’Oréal has come under scrutiny over its stance of doing business in a country that requires animal testing on cosmetics products.

This has been heightened since the EU ban came into place in March this year and pressure has increased as other global markets are urged to follow suit.

For the French firm, safety and innovation has always been at the forefront of its thoughts, and it is now looking to make an important step towards the validation of an alternative testing method in China, with hopes of changing regulations.

At the 6th Congress of the Chinese Society of Toxicology in Guangzhou, Mr SU Ning, researcher on behalf of ECVAM multicenter study, presented the latest advances for the validation of an alternative method for skin irritation conducted in China, based on the Chinese model and Episkin, hosted in collabpration with L'Oreal China.

This study was jointly conducted by L'Oreal Research and Innovation in China and government laboratories AQSIQ, including Beijing CIQ CIQ Shanghai and Guangdong CIQ, with the view of ‘completely replacing’ animal testing methods when it is scientifically proven that it is fully compliant in terms of predictability, which is already the case of the Episkin model L'Oréal in Europe.

Episkin testing

Episkin is a human reconstructed epidermis model marketed as a kit of 12 wells which was approved in Europe for a full replacement method in the study of corrosion and irritation.

Chinese Episkin model is a model of the human epidermis reconstructed from Asian keratinocytes produced in China by the Advanced Research laboratories of L'Oreal following the same production and the same requirements of quality control criteria in France.

The experts of the multicenter study stressed the importance of this study based on the Chinese model Episkin L'Oreal, which represents:

"The first validation of alternative methods and standardized standardized tests on animals in accordance with international standards in China, and that this project represents an important technical support, as it corresponds to the new regulations of the European Union.”

“It is a new mode of production, in accordance with international technical platform of alternative methods to animal testing."

After more than 30 years of research on skin reconstruction and development of predictive methods, Laurent Attal, vice president for Research & Innovation at L'Oréal says, "This is a major step in the promotion of alternative methods in China, by sharing knowledge and tools."

China importance

The announcement comes after L’Oréal had revealed it would upgrade its make-up production facility at its Tianmei plant in Yichang, Hubei province, costing more than 200 million yuan ($32.8 million).

Skin care and colour cosmetics are big markets for L’Oréal China as the company posted double-digit growth in 2012, and the expansion of this plant is one of its most important strategic moves in the region, according to Alexis Perakis-Valat, L'Oreal's executive vice-president for Asia Pacific and L'Oreal China CEO.

L'Oreal also moved its Asia-Pacific headquarters to Shanghai in July, further signaling China's importance.

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