XCellR8, a UK-based, vegan-friendly testing lab, was awarded £100K (over US$140,000) of funding to carry out a six-month proof-of-concept study to develop in vitro tests that are free from animal-derived ingredients, to create cruelty-free cosmetics and personal care products.
Situated in Sci-Tech Daresbury in Liverpool, XCellR8 received funding for its six-month study in the CRACK IT Challenges competition that ‘funds collaborations between industry, academics and SMEs’ and is sponsored by Unilever and AstraZeneca.
The funding will help the animal-free testing lab’s efforts to eliminate animal-derived products such as ‘Foetal Bovine Serum’ from in vitro tests to create new products that improve human relevance and reproducibility thus reducing the overall use of animals and in the future, the lab would also want that new protocols in the OECD TGs that are free from animal components. are accepted.
According to the company, “XCellR8 is the only lab globally to make their tests entirely animal-product-free (or vegan); they don’t use serum, tissues or antibodies extracted from animals”.
The funding will also help the lab to develop and validate new safety tests for OECD TG 487 (the Micronucleus Test for genotoxicity – the ability of a chemical to cause a cell mutation which could cause cancer) among others.
In an XCellR8 Facebook post, founder and chief executive Dr. Carol Treasure said that the company is about making a difference for animals, humans, and the planet. “We are doing this by showing that advanced science and strong ethics aren’t mutually exclusive – they are a powerful combination to drive positive change.”
The increased availability of in vitro testing services has already saved the lives of countless animals. And, it has helped to improve the accuracy and reliability of tests that humans rely on to be sure that products are safe. However, the ongoing use of animal components in most of these tests compromises their human relevance and can affect the reproducibility of results. [This is] a factor that has been largely overlooked until recentlyDr. Carol Treasure, Founder and Chief Executive of XCellR8
XCellR8’s clients include mainstream retail brands, massive ingredient manufacturers and fast-growth SMEs along with conducting cruelty-free testing for products like soaps, shampoos, household cleaning products, sanitizers and industrial chemicals with the company stating that they only use human cell culture and other cultures in vitro techniques, replacing outdated animal tests.
According to a report, the global cruelty-free cosmetics market size is predicted to reach US$10 billion by 2024 and is estimated to register a growth rate of 6.0% during the forecast period of 2019 to 2024 and at the moment, North America has the largest share in this market, followed by Europe and the Asia Pacific.
In a press release seen by Green Queen, Dr. Treasure said that the increased availability of in vitro testing services has already saved the lives of countless animals. “And, it has helped to improve the accuracy and reliability of tests that humans rely on to be sure that products are safe. However, the ongoing use of animal components in most of these tests compromises their human relevance and can affect the reproducibility of results. [This is] a factor that has been largely overlooked until recently. As consumer demand for vegan products, sustainable supply chains, and robust product safety grow. We’re delighted to see Unilever and AstraZeneca sponsoring work to address this gap in the science.”
Cruelty-free beauty products are having a moment around the world with celebrities too have also hopped on the bandwagon with singer-songwriter and actress Selena Gomez’s new vegan makeup brand Rare Beauty and Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys collaboration with e.l.f. Cosmetics, that will see the launch of her vegan beauty line in 2021.
Apart from celebrities, mainstream retailers such as e-commerce giant NET-A-PORTER, for instance recently introduced a new vegan ‘pillar’ on its website under its NET-SUSTAIN edit, where consumers can browse through certified vegan and animal-free brands across a number of categories, from fashion to beauty.
Lead image courtesy of XCellR8’s Facebook Page.