Liverpool lab secures £100,000 for 100% vegan-friendly testing

An animal-free testing laboratory in Liverpool has secured £100,000 in funding from Unilever and AstraZeneca for a 100% vegan-friendly testing study.

Based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, XCellR8 is a lab venture for animal-free testing in Liverpool. It has secured £100,000 for a study looking into 100% vegan-friendly testing.

The lab received the funds from Unilever and AstraZeneca for the project that focuses on developing vegan-friendly testing for new cosmetics and personal care products. Cosmetics and beauty products have increasingly been scrutinised for using animal products and testing the products on animals.

One of the focal points of the XCellR8, founded by Dr Carol Treasure and Bushra Sim, would be to try and remove foetal bovine serum from in-vitro tests, the ingredient used to make lab-grown meat.

The six-month study is part of the CRACK IT Challenges competition that funds collaborations between industries, academics and small and medium businesses. It hopes to develop innovative ideas into marketable services. XCellR8 aims to improve relevance to humans and the consistency of test results, whilst also reducing the use of animal products in supply chains.

The funding will help the vegan-friendly testing lab develop and validate new safety tests for genotoxicity, which is a chemical’s ability to cause cell mutations that could cause cancer.

Treasure, who is XCellR8’s chief executive, said: “The increased availability of in vitro testing services has already saved the lives of countless animals and 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 — a factor that has been largely overlooked until recently.

“As consumer demand for vegan products, sustainable supply chains and robust product safety grows, we’re delighted to see Unilever and AstraZeneca sponsoring work to address this gap in the science.”

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