P&G sets off on 3D bioprinted skin research project


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P&G sets off on 3D bioprinted skin research project

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Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble is following its rivals down the 3D skin printing road as it looks to fund a five year research project to develop a commercial process for making three-dimensional printed skin tissue. 

Last month we reported that L’Oreal had joined forces with a 3D human tissue company gaining the exclusive right to use the skin tissue models developed by Organovo​ for the “development, manufacturing, testing, evaluation and sale of non-prescription cosmetic, beauty, dermatology and skin care products.”

Now, P&G announces that it wants to be able to use artificial skin developed in a similar way to test the efficacy and toxicity of its new products, including those for its beauty care business.

“We want to look at the possibilities of bioprinting. It’s definitely a very strong emerging area,”​ says Professor Elena Lurie-Luke, the head of P&G’s Global Life Sciences Open Innovation business.

“We have a number of different in vitro skin models we’re working on because we are very involved in beauty care. If companies are doing innovation and interested in new tools then bioprinting should very much be on their horizon.”

Growing interest

Ever since the animal testing ban came into play in the cosmetics industry in Europe two years ago, there has been an acceleration towards alternative testing methods and with the development of 3D printing, the technology appears to align itself with this issue.

Now it seems P&G are working with the Singaporean government’s Agency for Science, Technology & Research, and inviting scientists to apply for grants associated with the project.

3D bioprinting is the process of generating spatially-controlled cell patterns using 3D printing technologies, where cell function and viability are preserved within the printed construct

This particular project is one part of a $44 million, five-year research program between P&G and the Agency designed to accelerate innovation, expanding on research collaboration between the two organizations that began in 2010.

San Diego-based Organovo was the first company to commercialise 3D bioprinting technology, and now boasts 65 employees and close to a $500m market capitalization. Cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal signed an exclusive deal with it on a skin tissue venture.

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