Clinical trials group Venn buys synthetic skin technology

Acquisition of LabSkin from Evocutis will address EU ban on animal testing for skincare and cosmetic products

Clinical research group Venn Life Sciences has moved to address an EU ban on cosmetic and skincare products tested on animals by acquiring the intellectual property rights to a synthetic skin.

Venn, which provides trial management services to clients in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices sectors, will acquire the intellectual property rights to LabSkin, a skin substitute that looks, feels and behaves just like human skin, according to Venn, and also displays a barrier function similar to human skin.

It will pay British dermatology company Evocutis £210,000 in shares for LabSkin and one other therapy.

Venn said it believed a significant market opportunity was opening for LabSkin with the activation last March of new rules barring the sale in the EU of skincare products or cosmetics that have been tested on animals.


As part of the deal, Venn is also acquiring SYN1113, which it described as a “novel” anti-acne treatment. It said it planned to license this technology through its InnoVenn division. The anti-acne drug will be the first technology to be licensed through InnoVenn.

Apart from the £210,000 consideration in shares, Venn has agreed to pay a royalty of 7.5 per cent on the gross sales of LabSkin for three years and also a quarter of the royalties of the future sale or licensing of SYN1113.

The deal, which requires the approval of Evocutis shareholders, is expected to close at the end of the first quarter.

Venn chief executive Tony Richardson said the acquisitions "of these ready to market innovative products and capabilities, which have the benefit of over ten years of research, further enhances our credibility in the area of skin science".

The move comes just months after Venn bought German company CRM Clinical Trials, which has a background in dermatology and skin science.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times