Venn Life Sciences Puts LabSkin in the Game

March 6, 2014
Marylyn Donahue

Pharmaceutical Executive

Just think what Frankenstein could do with this product. It looks like skin, feels like skin, but it’s not skin. It’s LabSkin, a facsimile, being manufactured by a clinical research group Venn Life Sciences.

Just think what Frankenstein could do with this product. It looks like skin, feels like skin, but it’s not skin. It’s LabSkin, a facsimile, being manufactured by a clinical research group Venn Life Sciences.

Demand for replacement technologies stemmed from the European Union ban on selling cosmetics tested on animals in March 2013, proving where there’s here there’s a will there’s a way.

But aside from horror films and cosmetics, and even beyond the issue of animal testing, there’s a real need for artificial skin in clinical trials.

“I think there will be a market already for preliminary toxicity tests, the basic steps before you get near animals or humans,” Declan Service of InnoVenn told Fiona Barry of Outsourcing Pharma on March 4.

Innovenn acquired the rights to LabSkin from dermatology CRO Evocutis. The replacement emulates living skin with both dermal and epidermal layers. The epidermal layer is differentiated, which provides a dry, air-exposed surface to test all aspects of skin microbiology to Evocutis.

As part of the deal Innovenn also acquired SYNAAA3 an anti-acne compound, which the company see as a receiving a quarter of the royalities in the future.

The brand is set to receive $350,000 in share from LabSkin and also 7.5% on gross sales of the brand for the next three years.

“I hope to extend the product line into different skin ethnicities,” said Service. “At the moment it’s a Caucasian 3D model – we’re looking at developing an Asian model, maybe for Chinese or Japanese companies, tailored to their markets.”

“There’s also the possibility to grow bacteria – microflora – on the surface. Therefore you’re able to test anti- bacterial products, and potentially medicinal products.

“From there we want to move further, into the transdermal market.”

Service said the company plans to perform “straight product and service development” of LabSkin for outside firms, rather than researching in-house applications for it. “I would see Innovenn’s purpose as a development and commercialization entity.”

The company is looking to form strategic partnerships with academia and commercial firms and had been in discussions with Bradford University’s Centre for Skin Science in the UK, he said.

The LabSkin acquisition marks a choice by InnoVenn to specialize in skin science. “We have identified skin science as somewhere we want to become niche experts,” said Service, adding this included what he called “human surface science” – skin, mucosae and hair.

Innovenn had “identified wound care and antimicrobial as the next licenses and acquisitions of technology in the pipeline,” he told us.
LabSkin is the latest acquisition by Venn, which in December 2013 bought Northern Irish CRO Medevol for £670,000 (US$1.12m).

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