• Meet CELL ALTERNATIV, the First French Lab to Develop Vegan In-Vitro Tests

    Carrying out reliable and safe efficacy studies for humans without using animals remains complicated, especially because of the testing protocols imposed by government. These protocols have only slightly evolved since their application, and still rely massively on the use of products of animal origin (cells, culture media, reagents, etc.). CELL ALTERNATIV, the first in vitro testing laboratory approved by the EVE VEGAN® certification mark, was created to meet this need.

    We contacted the CELL ALTERNATIV team to learn more about the services offered and the unique solutions the laboratory develops.

    Who are the founders or managers of CELL ALTERNATIV?
    Sophie Catoire is the founder and director of CELL ALTERNATIV. She holds a PhD in Bioengineering (UTC Compiègne) and has worked for 22 years in the field of in vitro testing for pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic companies.

    How long has CELL ALTERNATIV existed and why was it created?
    The laboratory was created in July 2020, following the closure of the site where Sophie was employed. The aim was to meet the growing need for in vitro tests in industry and to retain the specific skills linked to in vitro testing, acquired in the Hauts de France region, by employing three of her former colleagues.

    cell-alternativ-in-vitro-vegan © Cell Alternativ
    © Cell Alternativ

    What services are offered?
    CELL ALTERNATIV offers alternative in vitro tests and methods to the use of animals. These services offered to industrialists are regulatory tools and help in the R&D development of new products (objectification, efficacy, marketing, etc.).

    More specifically, what are the company’s innovations?
    To offer models of human epidermis reconstructed in the laboratory (from human cells), without animal products. To use these tissues in customized protocols that take into account the conditions of use of the final product but also the user’s environment. It should be remembered that this type of laboratory protocol still systematically uses animal derivatives. This is our innovation, unique in France and without equivalent in the world.

    What are the values of your company?
    To be ethical and predictive: we advocate innovation to replace the use of animals in research and the development of innovative methods to be more predictive for humans.

    What difference does CELL ALTERNATIV offer compared to similar services already on the market? 
    We offer our own reconstructed human epidermis model without animal products, which is only available from CELL ALTERNATIV. In addition, we have a child/sensitive skin model, but also customised tests that take into account the conditions of use and exposure of the product.

    cell-alternativ-vegan-testing © Cell Alternativ
    © Cell Alternativ

    Why should companies seek your services? 
    Because we are a small, responsive team with attractive rates and we are the only French laboratory to innovate in this sector. Our commitment to transparency is total, several of our protocols are already certified vegan by the certification body EVE VEGAN® and we will continue as far as technically possible.

    What campaigns do you use to support your development?
    We carry out communication campaigns with the local press (Courrier Picard and Picardie La Gazette) and the technical press (Techniques de l’Ingénieur), we also took part in the CIC Business Awards 2021 and regularly publish on LinkedIn. We do our utmost to inform professionals in the sector that our alternative is available, functional and accessible.

    Do you work with other countries?
    Yes, we are already working with different companies in Europe. We hope, thanks to our difference and innovation, to become a reference in the world for 100% vegan in-vitro testing.

    What are the next steps you are planning for your development?
    We plan to continue to develop new human tissues reconstructed without the use of animal products (a cornea for the study of eye irritation for example) and to continue to develop new testing methods, in line with the ethics of the laboratory. The challenge is important because it requires finding solutions and new replacement products, which represents a lot of research and testing.

    What new products will you be offering in the near future?
    We will soon be certifying new vegan study processes and methods, in addition to the fabrics already certified. We will keep Vegconomist readers informed of our technical developments.

    If you are interested in the services mentioned, please visit the CELL ALTERNATIV website and contact their team.

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