A sensitive solution that benefits everyone

Finding alternatives to animal testing is a goal not limited to just Givaudan, but for many companies operating in the cosmetics industry. The KeratinoSens® assay is an alternative to animal testing that has now been officially adopted as a number of validated approaches to the issue. Givaudan is happy to share its landmark research breakthrough for the greater good.

KeratinoSens™ Assay

Givaudan’s primary objectives are to operate as a profitable and sustainable business. In the realm of innovation our efforts support these goals. As an industry leader, however, we innovate beyond our products, acting responsibly to push boundaries and advance standards. ‘Giving back’ is now central to Givaudan’s philosophy of ‘going forward’. In this section we look at how our regulatory initiatives and voluntary actions demonstrate an obligation to go above and beyond compliance.

For the best part of a decade, Givaudan’s Fragrance Division has explored alternative methods to animal testing. Our efforts have borne fruit, not only for us, but the world at large, with the development of our KeratinoSens® assay, an in vitro screen for the skin sensitisation potential of chemicals.

Andreas is Senior Research Fellow Bioscience, Fragrance Research Dübendorf. Andreas has been responsible for leading a team in developing the KeratinoSens® assay. He provides some background to its evolution: “We began working in this area in 2006. Initially, our explorations were driven internally. However, our customers, particularly those in the cosmetics industry, also expressed the need for a solution in anticipation of the 7th Amendment of the EU Cosmetics Directive, which came into force in 2013.”

Sharing with the world

The decision was made to not make the KeratinoSens® assay proprietary to Givaudan. Andreas points to the rationale: “We decided that the in vitro assay should be openly available, rather than be patented, so we could take it to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD’s aim is to improve the economic and social well-being of people everywhere – a cause that we wished to contribute to.”

One of the key challenges in developing regulatory-approved animal test alternatives is that they need to produce reliable results that can be replicated in laboratories other than those in which the tests were developed. The KeratinoSens® assay has now been shared and the results validated in independent laboratories, as well as in cosmetics and chemicals industries labs.

Andreas sums up in this way: “While the KeratinoSens® assay is a landmark piece of research for Givaudan, it is by no means our only effort to innovate for the better good. We live in an interconnected world, and that applies to businesses too. Openly sharing such developments will reap rewards for Givaudan, our customers, and the industry too.”

By sharing our KeratinoSens® assay research, we hope to encourage other companies to do the same and further the redundancy of animal testing.