Innovations that enable the early testing of molecules have a wide range of benefits for customers, consumers and the environment. Thanks to innovative research, Givaudan has developed early stage testing methods that bring high quality molecules faster to market, reduce reliance on animal testing, and lessen impacts to the environment.
Since 2006, Givaudan has been engaged in the development of KeratinoSens®, an in-vitro assay which, together with two other skin tests developed by Procter & Gamble and Shiseido/Kao, has now been adopted and promoted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as an integrated testing strategy that alleviates dependence on the laboratory use of animals within the cosmetics industry.
After a thorough process of evaluation, KeratinoSens® was given the green light by the OECD in 2015 and is now being adopted across the fragrance and other industries. Andreas, Senior Research Fellow Bioscience, Fragrance Research, underlines the successful adoption and explains how KeratinoSens® reduces the need for animal testing and ensures high quality molecules for customers: “Today, 30 laboratories worldwide are applying this approach. Givaudan now tests for the skin safety of molecules at early stages of ingredients development, which brings quality molecules faster to market, and removes the need for animal testing.”
The 2015 Lush Award
The work on KeratinoSens® has been recognised with Givaudan being one of the teams presented with a 2015 Lush Award, in the new ‘Blackbox’ category, with 2015 being the first year this prize was awarded. Lush, a UK high street soaps and cosmetics company, launched the initiative with the aim of bringing forward safety testing with a focus on consumer products and ingredients.
While KeratinoSens® is firmly focused on protecting human skin, other projects under Andreas’ guidance aim at ensuring environmental safety for fragrance ingredients by addressing the issue of fish toxicity and bioaccumulation in fish. Bioaccumulation occurs when molecules are absorbed by fish and accumulate in the fish’s fatty tissues.
Givaudan’s ecotox programme is an assays evaluation programme for its Fragrance Division. Andreas explains its scope and objectives: “The ecotox programme looks at different environmental impacts, of which one is acute fish toxicity. We have to make sure our molecules are not toxic to fish, or become enriched in fish, so that they do not enter the animal food chain.
Unlike KeratinoSens®, where we were at the forefront of developing new assays, we are looking at what currently exists in this field to see how such assays can be applied for the first time within the fragrance industry. Ultimately, we are working towards validation for different approaches, which will also be adopted in the form of OECD guidelines in the future.”
One major research programme that addresses the topic of fish bioaccumulation is the ILSI Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) Ring study of which Givaudan is part. The study, which is being undertaken in several different laboratories, looks at two in-vitro assay methods for efficacy; each in its own right, and against the other for comparison. Results will be published in due course.
In a parallel study, the group addresses acute toxicity in fish. Andreas: “What we want to know is whether we can predict fish toxicity with real accuracy, just by testing fish cells. These two tests, in combination, will give the fragrance industry a solution to screen new ingredients for their potential risks to the environment and select the ones with a minimal impact.”
These innovative test methods on molecules bring multiple benefits: removing the need for testing on animals, ensuring safety for use on human skin, and protecting aquatic species and the environment. For customers, particularly in the cosmetics industry, this means that products can be brought quicker to market, with the assurance that the ultimate beneficiary is the consumer.