Phenotox Ltd, Innovenn Ltd, Manchester University Pharmacy School and Sheffield Hallam University Biomedical Research Centre and have been awarded Phase 1 funding from the UK-based National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) CRACK IT Metaboderm Challenge competition.

The Metaboderm competition is aiming to develop an animal-free approach for assessing the metabolism of chemicals such as candidate drugs and consumer use chemicals in human skin. The consortium is led by Phenotox, a company which specialises in enabling animal-free technologies. Innovenn’s unique in vitro human skin model (Labskin) is being optimised for metabolism studies of topically applied chemicals.

Manchester University is quantifying the chemical metabolising enzymes in Labskin using state of the art proteomics. Sheffield Hallam University is pioneering a novel mass spectrometry imaging technique that will allow the activity of chemical metabolising enzymes to be localised in Labskin.

If successful in Phase 1 the consortium will go on to use proteomic and imaging data to build computational models to provide a more accurate prediction of human skin chemical metabolism. This integrated solution would offer an animal-free alternative to assess the metabolism of drugs and consumer health chemicals in human skin.

Read more on the latest CRACK IT Challenges: Funding innovative technologies with 3Rs benefits and business potential