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Singapore: Organ-on-a-Chip-System Artificial Skin Model Instead of Animal Testing: Evonik Invests in Start-up from Singapore

From Alexander Stark

Specialty chemicals group Evonik is investing in start-up Revivo Biosystems to support the development of an artificial 4D skin model that will offer an alternative to animal testing.

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Revivo Biosystems has developed technology that uses a model of human skin for testing.
Revivo Biosystems has developed technology that uses a model of human skin for testing.
(Source: Revivo Biosystems/Evonik)

Essen/Germany — To support the development and commercialization of an artificial 4D tissue model of human skin, Evonik is investing in Revivo Biosystem. The technology provides an alternative to animal testing that is also quicker, more reliable and cost efficient, the companies announced.

Revivo’s organ-on-a-chip system simulates the interaction of human skin with the substance being tested. Skin tissues, which have been grown in a laboratory or a human skin sample, are placed on biochips which are supplied with nutrients and reagents. In this way the technology creates a micro-environment for the tissue models, which reproduce the architecture and functions of skin. For example, in contrast to other model systems, it mimics the function of blood flow allowing for analysis of both the localized and the systemic impact of compounds on the skin tissue. The platform thus creates a more realistic measurement of the interaction of, for example care products, and the skin. In addition to testing under realistic conditions, the company’s system automates testing and sampling procedures. This provides a cost-effective way of carrying out screenings that are required in the regulatory approval procedures for new substances.

Revivo’s organ-on-a-chip system simulates the interaction of human skin with the substance being tested.
Revivo’s organ-on-a-chip system simulates the interaction of human skin with the substance being tested.
(Source: Revivo Biosystems)

Many consumers prefer substances that have not been tested on animals and regulations have followed suit. More than 40 countries have passed laws to limit or ban cosmetics animal testing, including Australia, India, Israel, Turkey and the U.K. In the European Union the testing of cosmetics on animals has been banned since 2004 and since 2016 the use of data from animal testing that is done in other countries is not allowed to be used for approval processes. Alternatives to animal testing are also being sought for chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Evonik is already involved in researching animal-free biomaterials and cell-culture components at its Competence Center in Singapore. The project emerged from the Tissue Engineering project house, which was successfully completed in March 2021. Among other things, the project house worked on the artificial production of tissue in the field of regenerative medicine. The partnership with Revivo fits Evonik’s strategy to build on its innovation activities at the competence center.

Revivo Biosystems is Evonik’s first direct investment in Singapore. The German company established a venture capital office in Shanghai in 2018, which is helping the company tap into the fast-expanding and innovative start-up ecosystem in Asia. Evonik Venture Capital helps Evonik secure access to disruptive technologies and innovative business models as well as supporting digital transformation.

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