Year: 1973

While L’Oréal has built its reputation in cosmetics and personal care, the French company has breezed into the pharma industry several times throughout its storied history. Most notably, it purchased the drug developer Synthélabo in 1973 and owned a majority stake through its merger with Sanofi in the late 1990s. When Sanofi-Synthélabo later merged with Aventis in 2004 to become Sanofi-Aventis, L’Oréal’s share in the company dwindled. As of December 2022, however, the cosmetics developer still had a nearly 17% voting stake in Sanofi.

To decrease its reliance on animal testing, the cosmetics developer also grows human skin tissue in petri dishes with a technology it acquired in the late 1990s. Although the lab-produced skin was developed for the company’s own use, L’Oréal realized the product, dubbed EpiSkin, has potential in other markets. L’Oréal now grows over 100,000 human skin tissue samples every year and sells it to other cosmetics and chemical manufacturers along with pharma companies looking to decrease their use of animals in preclinical trials.