XCellR8, based in Daresbury, Cheshire, is now a step closer to winning regulator approval for a new test that uses human cells donated by cosmetic surgery patients after securing a £50,000 EU grant.
Currently EU Reach (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulations require environmental chemicals to be tested on animals if there is no valid alternative method of assessing their safety.
In certain circumstances this can include cosmetics ingredients - even though animal testing for cosmetics is generally prohibited by the EU Cosmetics Regulation.
XCellR8 is developing reliable laboratory tests for identifying the level of harm a cosmetic or personal care product might cause to humans without resorting to animals.
The methods include artificial models of human skin and eyes reconstructed from human cells donated by cosmetic surgery patients.
The ultimate aim is to render all animal testing obsolete by providing an accurate alternative that will be given the green light by regulators.
Carol Treasure, co-founder and managing director of XCellR8, said: "Our acute toxicity testing method is aimed at meeting both the safety demands of EU Reach regulations and the ethical demands of the EU Cosmetic Regulation.
“We are confident it can do this by using human skin cells that will give robust test results for human toxicity which are more accurate and reproducible than any animal test.
"It would also reduce the costs associated with animal testing and respond to the overwhelming demand from consumers worldwide for non-animal tested products."
XCellR8 was founded in 2008 by Dr Carol Barker-Treasure and Bushra Sim and has since won a number of industry awards for its innovative work.