L’Oréal corners the market on bioprinted skin

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

image courtesy of L’Oréal
image courtesy of L’Oréal

Related tags Skin

The 3-D human tissue company Organovo filed a current report this week with the SEC stipulating the conditions of that company’s arrangement with L’Oréal USA, which is a game changer for cosmetics testing, biotech, and the nutraceutical market.

Know-how from the two corporations will be merged as researchers from L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator work with the team at Organovo.

"Organovo has broken new ground with 3-D bioprinting, an area that complements L'Oréal's pioneering work in the research and application of reconstructed skin for the past 30 years,” ​says Guive Balooch, global vice president of the incubator. 

Terms and conditions

“Under the Agreement, L’Oréal will have the exclusive right to use the skin tissue models for the development, manufacturing, testing, evaluation and sale of non-prescription cosmetic, beauty, dermatology and skin care products,” ​according to the SEC filing.

Collaboration between Organovo and L’Oréal will proceed in three stages: development, validation and commercial supply. At each interval “the skin tissue models [must meet] certain specified performance criteria;​” then the beauty corporation will make a determination on whether or not to continue with the project.

Use of the tissue models for medical testing will remain the right of Organovo. Full details of the agreement are forthcoming as part of that company’s annual report.


The new technology will undoubtedly facilitate research and testing on digitally manufactured human cells and tissues. And, by extension, reduce or eliminate testing on animals.

“Our partnership will…bring about new advanced in vitro methods for evaluating product safety and performance,”​ explain the companies in a joint media release about the agreement.

For L'Oréal, the “chance to test products on 3D-printed human skin…would be an ideal solution, allowing for continued rigorous testing that ensures their products are safe for consumption by the general public without the bad PR of being a company that tests on animals,” ​writes equity.com​ is an item exploring the potential value of investing in Organovo.

About biotech

The relationship between L'Oreal and Organovo​ has been in the works for some time. And, the formal announcement of their partnership is a milestone for the commercial use of biotechnology.

“This partnership is a great next step to expand the applications of Organovo's 3-D bioprinting technology and to create value for both L’Oréal and Organovo by building new breakthroughs in skin modeling,” ​says Keith Murphy, chairman and CEO at Organovo.

Nutraceutical news

L’Oréal’s deal with Organovo includes the exclusive right “to use the skin tissue models for the development, manufacturing, testing, evaluation and sale of…nutraceutical supplements,”​ according to the SEC filing.

Reportedly the beauty corporation bowed out of the nutraceutical market last month when it closed Innéov, a joint venture with the food and beverage company Nestle.  Innéov was launched to create and market cosmetic nutraceutical supplements.

Explaining the decision to shut Innéov down, the companies commented that it simply hadn’t met development expectations.

“This transaction represents a very positive move for L’Oréal, its employees and its shareholders,”​ commented Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO. “L’Oréal will focus exclusively on its cosmetics business and its ‘beauty for all’ mission, its universalization strategy and its ambition to win one billion new consumers.”

Once won, it seems altogether likely that L’Oréal will be selling nutraceuticals to those consumers, given the wording of the Organovo partnership. 

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