About Phenion

We have been carrying out successful research since the 1980s to develop new methods for assessing the safety and compatibility of raw materials and products without animal testing.

Advanced biological methods are used to thoroughly investigate aspects such as the effect of raw materials on human skin so that innovative formulations can be developed. This is one of the basic prerequisites for successful product innovations. 

Substance application on fill skin model

The robust tissue allows the topical application of test items with diverse physical-chemical properties.

Who We Are

The people behind Phenion build an interdisciplinary team, uniting long-standing knowledge in the fields of cell biology, material sciences, chemistry, toxicology and tissue engineering. Their scientific expertise is committed to the groundbreaking 3R principle - the reduction, refinement and replacement of animal tests (Russell & Burch; 1959).

We have developed and provide to the scientific community e.g. the Phenion FT Skin Models - bio-artificial 3-dimensional human full thickness skin equivalents. These skin models are ideally suited for e.g. dermatological and cosmetic research. The artificially aged skin model is an excellent tool to conduct research on molecular ageing mechanisms. Further, the Phenion-team, in concert with other scientists, have developed the  3D-Skin COMET assay - a new, validated genotoxicity test method, allowing to detect both structural DNA damages and lesions, which may give rise to gene mutations. The 3D-Skin COMET assay in combination with the Phenion FT Skin Model shows an excellent predictivity to supplement existing in vitro test batteries or to follow-up initial positive findings. In the light of European Legislations (e.g. REACH or Cosmetic Directive), which foster or demand alternatives to animal testing, Phenion provides solutions for generating regulatory accepted data for toxicological assessments.

Our Scientific Expertise

Phenion is a synonym for more than 15 years of state-of-the-art expertise in the areas:

  • tissue engineering
  • development of alternatives to animal testing
  • in vitro research.

For many years, our scientists have laid emphasis on the development of in vitro test methods, which are based on 3-dimensional human tissue models.

They successfully developed e.g. the Phenion FT Skin Model, combining an epidermal with a dermal compartment based on an IP-protected collagen matrix. Since then the skin models have been used in a multitude of different projects in Europe and the USA. Thereby it has gained reputation by our customers as one of the best-designed and most versatile full-thickness skin equivalents currently available.

The alkaline COMET assay, an in vitro method for the detection of genotoxic effects, has been established with the Phenion Full-Thickness Skin Model. The so-called 3D Skin Comet assay has been successfully validated, the prerequisite for official regulatory acceptance and adoption into an OECD test guideline.

The scientists behind Phenion are strongly committed to the 3R principle (Russell & Burch; 1959). We are active members in various associations, e.g. the Euopean Cosmetics Association (Cosmetics Europe), the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) and in the In Vitro Testing Industrial Platform (IVTIP), all dedicated to the development, regulatory acceptance and dissemination of animal-free alternative methods.

What We Provide

Petri dish with skin model in substance and pincers.

The Phenion FT Skin Model allows convenient handling in a multitude of research applications.

Our competence in skin physiology provides solutions for regulatory toxicology as well as for general skin research. For a vast diversity of substances, skin is the site of first contact, and regulatory authorities request respective safety data. While the species and organ specific metabolism is excellently reflected, the Phenion FT Skin Model can be combined with well-established read-out parameters (e.g. Comet-assay) to allow in vitro-investigations of the dermal route of exposure.

Further, the Phenion FT Skin Model features not only morphological but also to a great extend physiological equivalence with human skin and allows convenient handling in a multitude of research applications. Additionally we provide as well the Phenion FT AGED Skin Model, an excellent research tool to better understand mechanisms of mature skin and respective counter measures.

Ethical & Quality Statement

  • Our quality statement
  • Our ethical statement

For the production of the Phenion FT Skin Models we exclusively use cells that have passed all cell quality controls - thus securing superior human full thickness skin equivalents. Besides other quality criteria, every cell batch that we provide is controlled for the absence of HIV-1, Mycoplasma, Hepatitis B and C from an independent third party CRO. Respective certificates of analyses ‏(CoA’s) are provided with every product shipment.

All Phenion cell culture media, developed to serve the delicate nutrition needs for individual cell types and 3-dimensional complex skin tissues, have been further fine-tuned, finally supporting optimal cell culture conditions. Phenion culture media are ready to use and do not need any further supplements, thus providing most convenient support to researchers. With an especially adopted quality control process, every culture medium bottle is tested for the absence of bacteria and fungi. Frozen media bottles (-20 °C) can be stored up to expire date - once thawed, media shall be stored at +4 °C and used within two weeks.

Some of the Phenion products are primary human skin cells or like the Phenion FT skin models contain primary human skin cells that have been isolated from human skin specimens. Such skin specimens occur as waste material during surgeries of e.g. juvenile males. We receive human juvenile biopsies for cell preparation and 3D tissue production from medical facilities in accordance with the German law. In detail, skin specimens are collected after respective parents were informed and after providing their written consent to the surgeon to use the skin waste for research, producing and marketing skin models. The downstream processing secures the anonymity of the skin specimen’s origins, as all personal data remain with the surgeon and are not disclosed.