CTIBiotech’s Innovative Project Sets the Stage for Sustainable Vaccine Development

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French biotechnology company CTIBiotech has announced the launch of its SAFESKIN3D project.

This project utilizes CTIBiotech’s expertise in 3D bioprinting and human tissue engineering. It aims to develop human skin models that closely resemble subcutaneous and intramuscular injection sites. These models have the potential to provide pharmaceutical companies with a more reliable method for assessing the safety and tolerability of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. If successful, this approach could accelerate the development of safer mRNA vaccines.

To further refine the project’s human skin models, CTIBiotech has partnered with Sanofi, a vaccine development company. Sanofi will provide valuable feedback during the beta testing phase. This feedback will be instrumental in ensuring the models achieve the high levels of accuracy and reliability required by the pharmaceutical industry.

Professor Colin McGuckin, President and Chief Innovation Officer of CTIBiotech, said, “The SAFESKIN3D project is a testament to our commitment to innovation and excellence in making human tissues. By developing advanced 3D bioprinted skin models, we not only enhance the safety and efficacy of new vaccines but also pave the way for more ethical and sustainable research practices. This project will significantly reduce the reliance on animal testing and accelerate the development of next-generation vaccines, ultimately benefiting public health on a global scale. We are thrilled to collaborate with SANOFI and leverage their expertise to bring this transformative technology to market.”

A project creating jobs and boosting European tech

The SAFESKIN3D project aims to develop advanced 3D human skin models, incorporating layers like the epidermis, dermis, hypodermis, and muscle, along with immune cells, sensory neurons, and vascular components. This comprehensive platform for vaccine safety testing seeks to reduce development costs and time while minimizing animal experimentation to meet ethical standards.

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By creating significant economic and societal benefits, this project is expected to generate five direct jobs initially and up to 70 jobs with €15 million in revenue by 2031, contributing to local growth and technological progress, says the company. Additionally, it will bolster the economic sovereignty of France and Europe by enhancing local vaccine development capabilities.

As per CTIBiotech, the company has allocated €1 million to the SAFESKIN3D project, supplemented by €500,000 from various awards, including the Sanofi iDEA-TECH Award, the France 2030 award, and the Important Project of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI’ Med4Cure award). These funds are intended to speed up medical innovations and strengthen the EU health industry’s resilience, says the company.

Developments in skin research

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Skin research traditionally relied on methods with limitations in mimicking human biology. 3D printed skin models offer a potentially more accurate alternative by replicating the structure of human skin.

Building on this, researchers at the University of Oregon (UO) and L’Oréal developed a sophisticated multilayered artificial skin model, closely resembling natural human skin complexity. Led by Associate Professor Paul Dalton from UO’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the development leverages a 3D printing technique, enabling creation of a two-layered artificial skin with membrane separation akin to real skin.

Published in Advanced Functional Materials, the model offers enhanced testing for skincare products and potential advancements in skin healing. This approach accelerates growth in just 18 days, facilitating commercial lab testing viability. Future applications include diabetic ulcer treatment and biomedical structures like blood vessels, supported by FDA-approved scaffold materials.

In another news, Cardiff University researchers developed an affordable and accessible 3D bioprinter from Lego, costing just £500 to develop. Led by Drs. Christopher Thomas, Oliver Castell, and Sion Coulman, the project sought to democratize bioprinting technology. Using bioink, the Lego bioprinter can create high-resolution layers of cells, mimicking human tissue structures.

Initially used to print skin cell layers, the bioprinter also facilitates adding diseased cells for studying skin conditions. Funded by the British Skin Foundation PhD studentship grant, this project includes sharing blueprints to encourage wider adoption among research labs, enhancing biomedical research capabilities worldwide.

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