Testing Human Skin and Respiratory Sensitizers—What Is Good Enough?

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 241; doi:10.3390/ijms18020241

Malmborg A., Borrebaeck C. A.K.

Abstract

Alternative methods for accurate in vitro assessment of skin and respiratory sensitizers are urgently needed. Sensitization is a complex biological process that cannot be evaluated accurately using single events or biomarkers, since the information content is too restricted in these measurements. On the contrary, if the tremendous information content harbored in DNA/mRNA could be mined, most complex biological processes could be elucidated. Genomic technologies available today, including transcriptional profiling and next generation sequencing, have the power to decipher sensitization, when used in the right context. Thus, a genomic test platform has been developed, denoted the Genomic Allergen Rapid Detection (GARD) assay. Due to the high informational content of the GARD test, accurate predictions of both the skin and respiratory sensitizing capacity of chemicals, have been demonstrated. Based on a matured dendritic cell line, acting as a human-like reporter system, information about potency has also been acquired. Consequently, multiparametric diagnostic technologies are disruptive test principles that can change the way in which the next generation of alternative methods are designed.
Keywords:

genomics; skin sensitization; adverse outcome pathways; next generation in vitro tests

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SenzaGen and Bioglan working together for the next generation of test methods

SenzaGen has signed a cooperation agreement with the pharmaceutical company Bioglan, which develops and manufactures creams and ointments for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. The collaboration means that Bioglan will test GARDskin for skin allergens in a number of creams that are included in various end products.

Bioglan is a pharmaceutical company that focuses on research, development and manufacture of medicines, especially semi-solids such as creams and ointments. Bioglan manufactures topical medicines and personal care products for customers within the pharmaceutical industry. The company works with everything from product development and clinical trials through to full-scale production. Safety testing and allergy testing are part of Bioglan’s everyday routine and today human skin patch tests are the preferred method of testing end products for skin allergies. SenzaGen’s GARDskin offers an alternative that may eventually replace these tests and therefore the two companies have now chosen to enter into a partnership where the use of GARDskin on complex end products will be further developed.

“With Bioglan we’ll benefit from an extensive exchange of knowledge and will have the opportunity to test GARDskin on several different formulations. We will also gain a deeper understanding of the extraction process, and can thus develop our products and processes further. Our goal is that GARDskin will work even on end products, and that more companies will therefore take note of our technology and realize that there are safer and better tests than the ones which are still routinely used in many places today,” says Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO of SenzaGen.

Bioglan, with its production in Malmö, seeks to depart from traditional testing methods on human skin and instead use the next generation’s GARD test for safety testing of the company’s products. GARDskin investigates and finds allergens in chemicals and pharmaceutical preparations through a unique genome technology that completely replaces the need for animal testing. The goal is that GARDskin should replace current tests, thus providing a better assessment of allergenicity and a more cost-effective approach.

For more information:
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO, SenzaGen AB
Email:amh@senzagen.com
Phone: +46 768 284822

Birgitta Svensson, Head of Development, Bioglan AB
Email: birgitta.svensson@bioglan.se
Phone: +46 40-287561, +46 708-149354

About Bioglan
Bioglan AB is your partner from product development through to full-scale manufacturing. We offer a total solution for all your production and service needs. Bioglan welcomes both small and large challenges, and is your partner of choice for

– One-off studies during product development
– Production of material for clinical trials (phase I – III)
– Commercial scale production for international markets

With more than twenty five years of experience in research, development and manufacturing of medicines, we can offer you all the services you need within the areas of semi-solids and liquids.

About GARD
By analyzing 200 and 389 markers, depending on the test, GARD generates massive amounts of data and delivers results with 90 % prediction accuracy. This can be compared to the gold standard, animal tests in mice, that provides 72 % prediction. SenzaGen’s test also has the ability to measure potency (strength) of a substance and can thus determine the degree to which a substance is an allergen.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen provides dermal and respiratory in vitro testing for the cosmetic, chemical and pharmaceutical industries replacing the need for animal testing. The company’s unique test, GARD, is based on research from the Department of Immunotechnology at Lund University. SenzaGen is based at Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden.

Press release in pdf

SenzaGen signs distribution agreement in Korea

SenzaGen has signed a distribution agreement with the Korean company WOOJUNG BSC, Inc.  Korea passed a legislation to ban animal testing of cosmetics on December 2015, which will be effective on February 4, 2017. With this new agreement, SenzaGen will enter one of the world’s most exciting markets and WOOJUNG BSC will market GARDskin for the field of cosmetics in Korea.

-Collaborating with new strong partners is an integral part of our business model. The agreement with WOOJUNG BSC means that we will be present in one of the most important Asian markets. Korea, just as India, has imposed a ban on animal testing on cosmetics. WOOJUNG BSC has a wide network of customers and partners in the life science sector, and also the company has been offering various solutions to the pharmaceutical GMP market and preclinical CRO services. This provides long-term benefits to our product portfolio and SenzaGen, says Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO of SenzaGen.

Korean company WOOJUNG BSC was established in 1989 and is one of the leading research facilities in Korea. Customers include universities, pharmaceutical companies and research institutes, to which WOOJUNG BSC provides services.

-We offer a range of services to leading cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies and universities in Korea and with GARD we will expand and strengthen our offer. With the new legislation, we see that more and more of our customers will demand animal-free tests and with GARD, we get a safer and better test. It benefits us, our customers and all consumers, says Benjamin, ByungNyun Chun, CEO at WOOJUNG BSC.

Since 2013, animal testing of cosmetic products is banned in the EU. Norway has decided to impose the same ban as the EU, while India, Israel, New Zealand and Turkey have introduced bans on carrying out animal testing for cosmetics in the country. In December 2015, Korea passed a similar ban which will come into effect in 2017. More bans are underway in major markets in the coming years, which provides an increasing demand for SenzaGens animal-free genomic testing.

For more information
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO, SenzaGen AB
E-mail: amh@senzagen.com
Phone: +46 768 284822

About WOOJUNG BSC Connecting Life, Science and Research
For the last 26 years WOOJUNG BSC has been a class-leading-pioneer for the development field of animal laboratory facility and research. Providing safest and most efficient solution to the laboratory and animal researching environment, have been built many top quality laboratories and providing research solutions such as in vitro, in vivo contract research. The company is confident that cutting edge facilities constructed under WOOJUNG BSC’s name is the most beneficial for the each component of world; human, animal and environment. Scientists and researchers can be always assured that they are in SAFE SHELTER (WOOJUNG).

About GARD
By analyzing 200 and 389 markers, depending on the test, GARD generates massive amounts of data and delivers results with 90 % prediction accuracy. This can be compared to the golden standard, animal tests on mice, that provides 72 % prediction. SenzaGen’s test also has the ability to measure potency (strength) of a substance and can thus determine the degree to which a substance is an allergen.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen provides dermal and respiratory in vitro testing for the cosmetic, chemical and pharmaceutical industries replacing the need for animal testing. The company’s unique test GARD is based on research from the Department of Immune Technology at Lund University. SenzaGen is based at Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden.

Press release in pdf

SenzaGen signs its first distribution agreement with British XCellR8, a leader in animal-free testing

In line with SenzaGen’s long-term strategy and business model, the company has now signed its first distribution agreement with the British test lab company XCellR8. The agreement confirms the interest in SenzaGen’s technology and opens up new business opportunities as XCellR8 will actively market the GARDskin for cosmetics, personal care and household products and their ingredient suppliers globally.

– This agreement is important for us, not only because we now see that our business model works, we also see that there is an increased interest in our technology and we get access to a new market with a well-established and highly competent and renowned partner. XCellR8 is one of the industry’s foremost ambassadors of non-animal tests, says Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO of SenzaGen.

XCellR8 was established in 2008 with a mission to replace animal testing with methods that are both scientifically advanced and ethically sound. The company works with a number of leading global cosmetic companies and their ingredient suppliers, and has become the “go-to” laboratory for in vitro testing expertise for both product safety and efficacy / claim support.

-By working with GARD we take a step into the future. With the use of genomics based testing we are moving towards safer and better tests, and ultimately more reliable consumer products without the need for animal testing, says Dr Carol Treasure, CEO of XCellR8

About XCellR8
XcellR8 offers animal-free testing for companies with products on the cosmetic, personal care and household product market and their ingredients suppliers. The company helps customers develop safe and innovative new products, to follow the law, and to choose non-animal test methods that are both scientifically advanced and ethical. XCellR8 ‘s British laboratory is accredited according to GLP standard (Good Laboratory Practice), which means that the company can offer their customers test results that can be used according to regulatory requirements to prove product safety. XCellR8 are proactive and contributing to the global commitment to replace animal testing through research and education programs.

About GARD
By analyzing 200 and 389 markers, depending on the test, GARD generates massive amounts of data and delivers results with 90 % prediction accuracy. This can be compared to the gold standard, animal tests in mice, that provides 72 % prediction. SenzaGen’s test also has the ability to measure potency (strength) of a substance and can thus determine the degree to which a substance is an allergen.

About SenzaGen
SenzaGen provides dermal and respiratory in vitro testing for the cosmetic, chemical and pharmaceutical industries replacing the need for animal testing. The company’s unique test, GARD, is based on research from the Department of Immunotechnology at Lund University. SenzaGen is based at Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden.

For more information
Anki Malmborg Hager, CEO, SenzaGen AB
Email: amh@senzagen.com
Mobile: +46 768 284822

Carol Treasure, Founder & MD, XCellR8
Email: carol.treasure@x-cellr8.com
Mobile: +44 7899 845222

Press release in pdf

Next generation skin sensitisation testing.

Personal Care Magazine Europe, sept 2016

Malmborg Hager A., Johansson H., Lindstedt M., Borrebaeck CA.

 

DNA is the software that predicts human phenotypes. Genomics utilises DNA as such a piece of software, which in several recent applications has been demonstrated to be able to predict a number of biological features, enabling anything from face recognition to vaccine development. The tremendous information content, harboured in the DNA, should be harnessed in tests of cosmetic ingredients and formulations, to get a complete insight into what is happening in the body when these types of products are applied to the human skin. This type of complex information gives a holistic view of a human condition that many of us are familiar with, such as e.g. allergic contact dermatitis, and has the potential not only to classify chemicals used in cosmetics but also to determine the magnitude to which a
chemical affects the human body (the potency).

This distinguishes genomics from most other test principles, where in many cases only one or two markers are being
monitored, such as DC activation markers (CD86, CD54), genes involved in cytoprotective responses to oxidative stress or electrophilic compounds (Nrf2, Keap1), or proinflammatory cytokines, (e.g. IL18).

Next generation skin sensitisation testing. PC Magazine, Sept 2016. Malmborg Hager A., Johansson H., Lindstedt M., Borrebaeck CA.

From genome-wide arrays to tailor-made biomarker readout – Progress towards routine analysis of skin sensitizing chemicals with GARD.

Toxicol In Vitro. 2016 Dec;37:178-188. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2016.09.013. Epub 2016 Sep 13.

Forreryd A., Zeller K., Lindberg T., Johansson H., Lindstedt M

Abstract

Allergic contact dermatitis (ACD) initiated by chemical sensitizers is an important public health concern. To prevent ACD, it is important to identify chemical allergens to limit the use of such compounds in various products. EU legislations, as well as increased mechanistic knowledge of skin sensitization have promoted development of non-animal based approaches for hazard classification of chemicals. GARD is an in vitro testing strategy based on measurements of a genomic biomarker signature. However, current GARD protocols are optimized for identification of predictive biomarker signatures, and not suitable for standardized screening. This study describes improvements to GARD to progress from biomarker discovery into a reliable and cost-effective assay for routine testing. Gene expression measurements were transferred to NanoString nCounter platform, normalization strategy was adjusted to fit serial arrival of testing substances, and a novel strategy to correct batch variations was presented. When challenging GARD with 29 compounds, sensitivity, specificity and accuracy could be estimated to 94%, 83% and 90%, respectively. In conclusion, we present a GARD workflow with improved sample capacity, retained predictive performance, and in a format adapted to standardized screening. We propose that GARD is ready to be considered as part of an integrated testing strategy for skin sensitization.

KEYWORDS:

GARD; In vitro assay; Predictive genomic biomarker signature; Skin sensitization

Link to articel on line

Next generation skin sensitisation testing

Malmborg Hager A., Johansson H., Lindstedt M., Borrebaeck CA. Next generation skin sensitisation testing. PC Magazine, Sept 2016

senzagen member of the board

Ian Kimber joins the board of SenzaGen AB

SenzaGen AB, a diagnostic spin-off company from Lund University, is proud to announce that Prof. Ian Kimber will join the Board of Directors.

SenzaGen AB is a diagnostic company working to replace animal testing for sensitization predictions.

Prof Ian Kimber is currently Professor of Toxicology and Associate Dean for Business Development in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. He has broad research interests at the interface between toxicology and immunology, with a particular focus on allergy and inflammation.  Professor Kimber holds, and has held, a variety of positions on national and international expert and scientific advisory committees. Currently these include the following:  Member UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Committee for Safety of Devices, Programme Advisor Food Standards Agency Food Allergy and Intolerance Research Programme, and member MRC Translational Research Group. Professor Kimber was previously President of the British Toxicology Society (BTS) (2012-2014), and Chairman of the Board of the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) (2008-2013).  

“I am delighted to be joining the Board of SenzaGen at such an exciting period of growth. Since our initial studies that led to the development and ultimate validation of the Local Lymph Node Assay I have maintained a keen interest in chemical allergy and in the development of novel approaches for improved hazard identification and risk assessment. In this respect harnessing fully the opportunities afforded by developments in the biomedical sciences is critical, and the work of SenzaGen in exploiting a genomic approach to pathway analysis and risk assessment is at the cutting edge of new developments”, says Prof Kimber.

Ian Kimber has published over 600 research papers, review articles and book chapters, and serves currently on the editorial boards of toxicology, immunology, dermatology and pathology journals.

“We are very happy to have Prof Kimber on board in SenzaGen”, since he is one of the forerunners in sensitization testing, says Prof Carl Borrebaeck, “his knowledge and interest in the field of allergy and replacement of animal testing with new technologies is very important to us. We value his participation in developing the next generation tests.”

 

Press release in pdf

Systematic evaluation of non-animal test methods for skin sensitisation safety assessment.

Toxicology in Vitro   Volume 29, Issue 1, February 2015, Pages 259–270

Kerstin Reisinger, Sebastian Hoffmann, Nathalie Alépée, Takao Ashikaga, Joao Barroso, Cliff Elcombe, Nicola Gellatly, Valentina Galbiati, Susan Gibbs, Hervé Groux, Jalila Hibatallah, Donald Keller, Petra Kern, Martina Klaric, Susanne Kolle, Jochen Kuehnl, Nathalie Lambrechts, Malin Lindstedt, Marion Millet, Silvia Martinozzi-Teissier, Andreas Natsch, Dirk Petersohn, Ian Pike, Hitoshi Sakaguchi, Andreas Schepky, Magalie Tailhardat, Marie Templier, Erwin van Vliet, Gavin Maxwell

 

Abstract

The need for non-animal data to assess skin sensitisation properties of substances, especially cosmetics ingredients, has spawned the development of many in vitro methods. As it is widely believed that no single method can provide a solution, the Cosmetics Europe Skin Tolerance Task Force has defined a three-phase framework for the development of a non-animal testing strategy for skin sensitisation potency prediction. The results of the first phase – systematic evaluation of 16 test methods – are presented here. This evaluation involved generation of data on a common set of ten substances in all methods and systematic collation of information including the level of standardisation, existing test data, potential for throughput, transferability and accessibility in cooperation with the test method developers. A workshop was held with the test method developers to review the outcome of this evaluation and to discuss the results. The evaluation informed the prioritisation of test methods for the next phase of the non-animal testing strategy development framework. Ultimately, the testing strategy – combined with bioavailability and skin metabolism data and exposure consideration – is envisaged to allow establishment of a data integration approach for skin sensitisation safety assessment of cosmetic ingredients.

Keywords

Skin sensitisationTesting strategySafety assessmentNon-animal test methodsAdverse Outcome Pathways

Link to article on line

SenzaGen AB completes successful collaboration with Beiersdorf AG.

SenzaGen AB, a diagnostic spin-off company from Lund University, reports the successful completion of a collaboration with Beiersdorf.

SenzaGen AB, a diagnostic company working to replace animal testing, has been collaborating with Beiersdorf to evaluate its skin sensitization test for chemicals.

SenzaGen AB is based on research at the Department of Immunotechnology at Lund University, providing animal-free, in vitro sensitization tests for the cosmetic, chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.

Beiersdorf has been working in the development and recognition of alternative methods for more than 20 years and is one of the main players in the cosmetic industry in Europe. An industry that is highly interested in recommendations in this field – especially after the ban in March 2013 on animal testing in the cosmetic industry.

“It has been very valuable for SenzaGen to be able to challenge its skin sensitization test in an industrial setting.” says Prof. Carl Borrebaeck, chairman of the board of SenzaGen.

In the collaboration, blind testing of two industrial test sets of chemicals were performed using the SenzaGen proprietary GARD assay, resulting in an accuracy of 89%.