SenzaGen gets new funding to boost non-animal testing methods

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

CEO Nählstedt said cosmetics is a very important industry for SenzaGen as "there is still unnecessary animal testing going on" in many markets (Image: Getty)
CEO Nählstedt said cosmetics is a very important industry for SenzaGen as "there is still unnecessary animal testing going on" in many markets (Image: Getty)

Related tags Animal testing alternatives Animal testing ban Animal testing REACH European commission Regulation European union

The company shared that it will use the cash to further collaborate with RIFM to test more substances and determine safe-dose levels around skin sensitisation.

It will continue to use its non-animal-related GARD skin Dose-Response method to test and identify potential allergens in specific chemicals. It combines a machine-learning algorithm, genomics, and human cell lines to get a highly accurate readout of potential skin allergens.

SenzaGen, which is based in Lund in Sweden, said the unique test method “provides quantitative data that eliminates the need for animal testing when determining the concentration at which skin-sensitising substances can be used without causing allergies.”

It has been working on the technology since 2014 and shared that the test can distinguish between allergens and non-allergens with a very high predictability.

The testing process was approved by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 2022 as a standard test guideline.

RIFM meanwhile generates, analyses, evaluates, and distributes data to provide a scientific basis for the safe use of fragrances.  It has the “world’s most comprehensive source of toxicology data, literature, and general information on fragrance and flavour raw materials” and its Fragrance Ingredient Safety Assessment programme draws from a database of over 80,000 references and around 200,000 human health and environmental studies.

Since 2021, the two companies have collaborated to advance both non-animal testing and fragrance safety.

CEO and group president of SenzaGen, Peter Nählstedt explained that the company’s GARD skin Dose-Response method “remains at the forefront of research” and said that SenzaGen eagerly anticipated “delivering outcomes that advance the shift to non-animal testing and enhance product safety in the market.”

While senior scientist at the RIFM, Isabelle Lee, shared that one of RIFM’s goals was to conduct quantitative risk assessment of fragranced consumer products using non-animal methods and that “The GARD skin Dose-Response assay shows promise as a pathway forward in deriving a point of departure without animal testing.”

Lee added that RIFM “eagerly anticipates the findings of our new study in collaboration with SenzaGen."

Animal testing in cosmetics still faces confusion

SenzaGen, which was ranked as Sweden's 18th fastest-growing technology company in Deloitte's annual ranking, Sweden Technology Fast 50 for 2023, believes its in vitro alternatives are not only more ethical, but also more effective than testing on animals.

Although animal testing for cosmetics products is technically banned in Europe, it continues to take place in international markets that European companies sell into.

Cosmetics companies in Europe can still face confusion in this area too, due to the caveat on ‘worker exposure’​ to chemicals in the EU’s REACH regulation.

Nählstedt said that cosmetics is a very important industry for SenzaGen as “in many markets there is still unnecessary animal testing going on, and there are now better options in-vitro and animal-free.”

“It’s very useful in cosmetics because we can manage mixtures, extracts and where it’s not very always defined what type of substances you have,” he continued.

“We've now done several tests with customers and know that the platform works with these types of products, so the consumer can be safe.”

“We also know that this platform is used by our customers in product development because then they can screen out potentially problematic products, but also keep the ones that are really interesting and not discard them because they did a too broad or too less-specific type of test,” he concluded.

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