French cosmetics giant L’Oréal and biotech firm Poietis have signed an exclusive research partnership to pursue a new scientific challenge: bio-printing a hair follicle, the small organ that produces hair.

Poietis already uses lasers for bio-printing reproduced skin structures. The laser-assisted bio-printing technology developed by Poietis to produce biological tissue can position cells in 3D with extremely high cellular resolution (on the order of ten microns) and cellular viability (over 95%). This unique bio-printing technology involves successively layering micro-drops of bio-inks using a quick scan by a laser beam. The living biological tissue created must then be matured for around 3 weeks before it can be used in tests.

According to L’Oréal and Poietis, this exclusive technology could make it possible to create a functional follicle capable of producing hair thus leading to new advances in hair knowledge and enabling the development of exclusive efficacy testing on bio-printed hair samples.