Inventya partnering in novel R&D for acute toxicity regulatory testing

Inventya is partnering with a novel research collaboration funded by the NC3Rs and Technology Strategy Board. The collaboration is led by XCellR8 Ltd, a UK provider of non-animal testing services for the cosmetics, personal care and household chemical industries.

The partnership includes leading ethical cosmetics manufacturer & retailer Lush Fresh Handmade

Cosmetics; the non-profit organisation FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments); and Inventya Ltd. This partnership will explore the feasibility of developing replacement tests for acute toxicity that are scientifically relevant and commercially robust, with the aim of replacement test adoption as OECD test guidelines. The project started on 1st September 2014, and will run for eighteen months.

Whilst XCellR8 leads the R&D partnership, all three partners are strongly committed to replacing the use of animals in regulatory testing. FRAME has conducted research and campaigns on alternatives for several decades, and has extensive experience working with cosmetics companies and in vitro alternatives.  Lush has pioneered the cruelty-free approach within the cosmetics industry, placing the issue at the centre of its mission to create fresh handmade cosmetics that are not tested on animals anywhere in the supply chain. Inventya help science and technology organisations to commercialise their products, and have a strong commitment to helping technologies with significant societal impact get to market.

The collaboration will specifically investigate viable scientific solutions for overcoming a major regulatory conflict for cosmetics companies and their ingredient suppliers. On the one hand the EU’s Cosmetics Regulation (EU 1223/2009) prohibits the use of animals in the testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients. On the other hand, suppliers and manufacturers of cosmetics ingredients are bound by the EU’s REACH regulations concerning the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. New substances may need to be tested for REACH registration, but they may be prohibited from use in the EU’s cosmetics industry.

Animal-based toxicity tests required by REACH – such as the LD50 – are not sufficiently relevant to profiling acute toxicity of cosmetics and their ingredients in humans, and these approaches cannot be justified on scientific grounds. The LD50 test has never undergone the stringent validation that is required today for the regulatory acceptance of alternatives, and numerous scientific studies have found LD50’s predictive capability ranging between only 65-75% accuracy. Far more robust, and ethically acceptable, replacement tests are urgently needed within the cosmetics industry.

Dr Carol Barker-Treasure, Managing Director of XCellR8 explains: “Our motivation for this project aligns with XCellR8’s mission to support cosmetic companies and ingredient suppliers who are committed to providing the public with cruelty-free products.  There is currently an urgent need for an animal-free replacement for the LD50 and we are tackling that need.  We’re delighted to be working with such a strong consortium of partners, who are just as committed to the replacement of animal testing as we are – together we will ensure that the maximum potential of the project is realised.”