SaferSkin™ for animal-free tests

US cosmetic industry embraces animal-free tests

SaferSkin™, a powerful new test for skin sensitisation

 

The 3Rs

For over 20 years, the move to Reduce, Refine and Replace animal testing for cosmetics slowly gained momentum in the European Union, culminating with the Cosmetics Directive of 2013. http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/cosmetics/animal-testing_en

The ethical reasons for ending animal testing testing are obvious. Less well known are the arguments that in vitro and in silico methods are cheaper and more reliable. The 100+ million animals sacrificed in the US alone each year represent an enormous financial investment, while the results from such tests do not always accurately predict how people will react to the same substances.

US social history suggests that, where California goes, the rest of the country eventually follows. So, it was significant when California became, in September 2018, the first US state to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. Even more significant was the bill’s endorsement by 100 cosmetic companies.

For decades, animal testing was the only method for testing the potential for skin sensitisation. Today, Integrated Testing Strategies (ITS) combining in silico computer models and in vitro data offer a much better way. In short, if a similar compound is already known to cause sensitisation, the computer model can predict the probability that a new compound could as well. Today, by combining in silico and in vitro technology, scientists can weed out risks before a compound reaches consumers.

Edelweiss Connect’s new SaferSkin™ app industrializes the ITS developed at Procter & Gamble (P&G) and other large consumer product companies for skin sensitivity*. In keeping with Edelweiss Connect’s track record in collaborative scientific communities, we initially worked with P&G to make their approach, designed to respond to that company’s particular needs, relevant to all researchers. In addition, we made SaferSkin™ user-friendly, free and open-access.

 

New technology, new paradigm

SaferSkin™ combines three of the top methods for ITS: the Bayesian Network approach, Multiple Regression Analysis and ‘2 out of 3‘ Weight of Evidence. “SaferSkin™ is like a legal team that brings in all the evidence, so the jury can reach a verdict they are confident about,” explains Dr. Barry Hardy, CEO, Edelweiss Connect.

To pack even more power into SaferSkin™, Edelweiss Connect partnered with Eurosafe, global suppliers of biological assays, to add genomics data from the Sens-IS assay. “Sens-IS is a leading assay on the market that is genomics-based and covers many key events in skin sensitisation,” explains Dr. Christophe Chesne, CEO of Eurosafe and Biopredic International.

“The promise of this combined expertise is what motivates Edelweiss Connect,” says Dr. Hardy. “We aim to be at the front of this paradigm change, helping companies reduce, refine and replace toxicology testing on animals and make sure their products are safe. We believe these two goals are complimentary.”

*doi: 10.1007/s00204-015-1634-2

About Edelweiss Connect

Edelweiss Connect manages collaborative projects to achieve goals in scientific research, infrastructure development or service provision. Effective collaboration requires many elements including coordination, culture, communications, common understanding, decision-making and interoperability.

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