Science and respect for animal research. The Chinese Episkin model

Science and respect for animal research. The Chinese Episkin model
Yareah Magazine

Science and respect for animal research. L’Oréal has been granted a Chinese business licence for Shanghai Episkin Biotechnology Ltd. The company will market its reconstructed skin models Episkin which are essential for the validation of alternative methods to animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients. An alternative method makes it possible to evaluate the safety of products and ingredients without animal testing.


The Chinese Episkin model is a human epidermis model reconstructed from Asian keratinocytes, produced by the L’Oréal Advanced Research laboratories in China according to the same strict production standard and quality control criteria as at L’Oréal’s Predictive Evaluation Center in Gerland, France.

“Over the past 30 years, our researchers have developed the expertise of reconstructing skin and other human tissues. An investment in science and a strong ethical commitment have led us to implement several alternative methods and embrace the era of predictive assessment. Worldwide, we share our methods and tools and offer training to universities and authorities. With this objective in mind, we started producing reconstructed Asian skin in China in 2008, so that in the near future we can begin marketing it through Shanghai Episkin Biotechnology”, explains Laurent Attal, Executive Vice-President of Research and Innovation at L’Oréal.

For over a century L’Oréal has been pushing the boundaries of science to meet the beauty aspirations of millions of women and men. Its commitment to innovation has been relentless in its aim to offer everyone, no matter where they are in the world, the best in cosmetics in terms of quality, efficacy and safety. This commitment has been reflected in innovation that caters for the world’s diversity without compromising consumer safety.

At the 9th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, held in Prague in August 2014, the focus of the round-table “Sharing ethical beauty with all” included worldwide initiatives of the Group over the last 10 years to provide training and to share and promote predictive methods. Chaired by Jacques Leclaire, Scientific Director of Research and Innovation at L’Oréal, this session brought together several partners: Robert Kavlock, US Environmental Protection Agency; Troy Seidle, Humane Society International; Daiki Kyotani, Nikoderm Research; Hervé Groux, Immunosearch; Shujun Cheng, General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China; Mohammad Akbarsha, Mahatma Gandhi-Doerenkamp Center and José Cotovio, Director of Predictive Methods and Models Department, L’Oréal Advanced Research. They described their scientific interactions, the development of training courses and methods adapted for different countries, as well as the dialogue with civil society and consumers.

In addition, L’Oréal showcased its scientific advances on the topics of “Skin sensitization, Computer modelling, Human relevance, Ecotoxicology”. L’Oréal also participated actively in the “Regulatory acceptance” session, focusing on the validation of an alternative method for the skin irritation test using the Chinese Episkin model in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China, as well as other initiatives in Japan, the US, and India which aim to improve and share predictive toxicology methods and tools.

L’Oréal Research and Innovation employs over 4,000 people in a multipolar network of centres in France, the US, Japan, China, Brazil and India. In China, L’Oréal Research and Innovation employs 300 people in Pudong. The first buildings of the research center were inaugurated in 2005, with a second instalment in 2010 and a third extension in the works.

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