Two years ago, chemical company BASF signed an agreement with bioprinting company Poietis regarding the 3D printing of skin for cosmetic testing purposes. BASF wanted to use Poietis’ 3D laser-assisted bioprinting technology to further develop its Mimeskin tissue. The technology works by focusing a laser on a cartridge of bioink, which causes droplets of the ink to fall onto a substrate seeded with cells. This allows very precise positioning of cells in 3D structures.
“Bio-printed 3D models are the method of choice for the predictive evaluation of ingredients as these models reproduce the cell environment in vitro by having mechanical and metabolic functionalities close to the vivo,” said Fabien Guillemot, Founder and President of Poietis.
Now BASF and Poietis want to take their collaboration to the next level, having learned a great deal over the last two years about how to successfully engineer skin in the lab.
“During our cooperation, we gained important insights like the parameters and kinetics of dermis maturation. A mature and thick dermis is an essential condition to obtain optimum results in epidermal printing,” said Sebastien Cadau, responsible for tissue engineering development at BASF.
A big step was accomplished when Poietis’ technology was used to create an automated reproduction of Mimeskin, which is one of the closest equivalents to the original physiological equivalents of real human skin.
“In a second step, we now want to jointly improve the skin models by increasing structure complexity and adding new cell types,” said Cadau.
There are many benefits to using 3D printed skin for cosmetic testing. One major reason to do so is that it eliminates the need for testing on animals. For humane reasons, this is an obvious plus, but another benefit is that animals don’t always react to chemicals the way humans do, so animal testing doesn’t necessarily offer a perfect indication of how humans will react to a certain substance. The only way to accurately gauge how safe something is for human use is to test it on actual human skin – and since cosmetics companies can’t test on actual humans, the next best thing is human skin created in the lab. Since 3D printed skin such as Mimeskin is essentially real skin, this makes it an effective surface on which to test ingredients that may eventually be used by humans.
BASF successfully tested a number of active ingredients for cosmetics through the collaboration with Poeitis. In the years to come, the company plans to further develop and market several of those ingredients. At the cosmetic trade show Cosmetagora this year, BASF presented its ingredient Dermagenist, its first active ingredient whose efficacy was confirmed through the use of laser-assisted 3D bioprinted skin models.
“This agreement confirms a fruitful scientific collaboration and strengthens our partnership with the leading ingredients manufacturer for the personal care market,” said Bruno Brisson, Poeitis Co-Founder and Vice President Business Development. “This is a formal recognition of Poietis’ unique technology and its valorization driven by new developments since the creation of the company.”
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