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UL software targets animal testing

Company is latest to seek alternatives to animal tests for chemical evaluation

by Rick Mullin
March 20, 2017 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 95, Issue 12

The testing and certifying company UL has introduced software aimed at reducing the need for animal testing when assessing chemicals for Europe’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program.

The product, REACHAcross software, uses machine learning, a method whereby data continually enhances software, to assess the behavior of any chemical of interest to European regulators, UL says.

REACHAcross, which debuted at the Society of Toxicology’s annual meeting in Baltimore last week, is the latest in an effort by professional organizations, chemical makers, and equipment suppliers to develop improved means of assessing chemicals’ effects on human health and the environment. Many of the efforts target a reduction in animal testing.

Managing regulatory assessment was a prominent topic at the toxicologists’ meeting, in part because of changes last year to the U.S.’s Toxic Substances Control Act requiring more data reporting.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit, has promoted methods for reducing animal testing at the meeting in recent years. This year, it hosted a seminar on “read-across” data management—the application of data from a tested chemical to similar untested chemicals—for predictive toxicity assessment.

Recent efforts to make better use of data in chemical assessment include a partnership between Eli Lilly & Co., Dow AgroSciences, and the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute to share data. Earlier this year, the Beagle Freedom Project awarded $200,000 to scientists from three universities to develop alternatives to animal testing in chemical safety assessment.


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