BiofabricationBioprintingDrug Discovery & Development

CTIBIOTECH and Sanofi to launch SAFESKIN3D bioprinting project

The skin models will be used to improve prediction of the safety, security and tolerance of new mRNA vaccines

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CTIBIOTECH, a pioneering company in the development and production of biological tests on human tissues, is launching the new SAFESKIN3D project in partnership with SANOFI. This groundbreaking initiative aims to produce flexible 3D bioprinted human skin models to predict the reactogenicity of vaccines, particularly the new generation of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.

“The SAFESKIN3D project is a testament to our commitment to innovation and excellence in making human tissues,” Professor Colin McGuckin, President & Chief Innovation Officer of CTIBIOTECH, stated. “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.”

CTIBIOTECH and Sanofi to launch SAFESKIN3D bioprinting project to improve prediction of the safety, security of new mRNA vaccines Transforming vaccine safety testing

The SAFESKIN3D project represents a significant technological breakthrough in the field of vaccine development. By leveraging CTIBIOTECH’s expertise in 3D bioprinting and human tissue engineering, the project will create advanced human skin models that mimic subcutaneous and intramuscular injection sites. These models will enable pharmaceutical companies to better predict the safety, security, and tolerance of mRNA vaccines, reducing the reliance on animal testing and accelerating the development of safer vaccines.

CTIBIOTECH has secured a strategic partnership with SANOFI, a global leader in vaccine development, to act as a “beta tester” for the new injection site skin models. SANOFI’s expert feedback will be instrumental in validating and refining the models, ensuring they meet the highest standards of pharmaceutical industry accuracy and reliability.

The SAFESKIN3D project aims to develop sophisticated 3D human skin models that include epidermis, dermis, hypodermis, and muscle layers. Using bioprinting, CTIBIOTECH researchers will integrate immune cells, sensory neurons, and vascular components to create a comprehensive model for vaccine safety testing.

This is expected to reduce the cost and time of vaccine development by providing a high-throughput, human-based testing platform. It will also minimize the need for animal experimentation, aligning with global ethical standards and regulatory pressures.

Economic impact of SAFESKIN3D

The successful implementation of SAFESKIN3D will position CTIBIOTECH, the Metropole of Lyon and the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region as world leading territory for innovative vaccine safety testing.

The project is expected to create 5 direct jobs during its execution and up to 70 jobs and €15 million in revenue by 2031, contributing to the region’s economic growth and technological advancement. Additionally, the project supports France and Europe’s economic sovereignty by enhancing the local capabilities in vaccine development.

CTIBIOTECH and Sanofi to launch SAFESKIN3D bioprinting project to improve prediction of the safety, security of new mRNA vaccines

CTIBIOTECH is investing €1 million in the SAFESKIN3D project and received €500,000 in additional support and financing. The funding parties include the Sanofi iDEA-TECH Award, a competitive call for projects aimed at transforming technological innovations developed by academic laboratories, start-ups and biotech companies into solutions that will accelerate the discovery of new therapies. Funds will also be provided by the Transforming SMEs through Innovation | France 2030 award, which looks to help with the design of innovations, at the feasibility study or development stage and is financed by the French Government and Region Auvergne Rhone Alpes. A grant will also be provided by the Metropole de Lyon to collaborate with Sanofi in the context of ‘IPCEI’ (Important Project of Common European Interest).

Next-Generation health responsibility

SAFESKIN3D aligns with CTIBIOTECH’s commitment to sustainability by repurposing human biological samples that would otherwise be discarded. This approach not only reduces waste but also provides a pragmatic alternative to animal testing, furthering the company’s mission to develop ethical and effective biomedical solutions. Furthermore, the clinical development of SAFESKIN3D could lead to human treatments of the future.

Dr. Nico Forraz, Chief Executive Officer of CTIBIOTECH, commented, “The launch of the SAFESKIN3D project marks a pivotal moment for CTIBIOTECH™ and the broader field of vaccine development. Our innovative 3D bioprinted skin models will provide a more accurate and ethical method for assessing vaccine safety, ultimately leading to faster and more cost-effective development of new vaccines. This project underscores our commitment to scientific excellence and our dedication to transforming public health. We are excited to partner with SANOFI and leverage their expertise to bring this transformative technology to the forefront of vaccine research. We are grateful to SANOFI, The Metropole of Lyon, The Region Auvergne Rhone Alpes, The French Government France 2030 initiative and Lyonbiopole Auvergne Rhone Alpes for their support.”

CTIBIOTECH and Sanofi to launch SAFESKIN3D bioprinting project to improve prediction of the safety, security of new mRNA vaccines
Human skin models produced by 3D bioprinting at CTIBIOTECH

3D bioprinting at CTIBIOTECH

CTIBIOTECH’s ambition is to reduce both the cost and time of drug development through innovation in the automation of the cell-based bioassay development and production process. CTIBIOTECH™’s Skin bioprinting successfully and reproducibly mass-produce human skin equivalents (production of several hundred models in less than one hour) with skin cells from the epidermis (keratinocytes, melanocytes), dermis (fibroblasts, immune cells, sebocytes, vascular cells).

The team was the first in the world to produce skin immunized by 3D bioprinting to measure the anti-inflammatory effects of active ingredients (collaboration with BASF), or skin containing artificial sebaceous glands (collaboration with Beiersdorf), skin with a vascular network (static, collaboration with Clariant), with melanocytes producing melanin and even by integrating hair follicles”). CTIBIOTECH’s immunized skin models are used in a national consortium (NOVOPLASM) supported by the Direction Générale des Armées (French Army) for development of burns treatments.

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