A LEADING skincare testing company has embarked on a huge expansion of its laboratories near York.

Labskin says it is doubling its lab space at the National Agri-Food Innovation Campus (NAFIC) at Sand Hutton - from 1,457 sq ft to 2,943 sq ft - to meet growing demand, and this will attract multi-national cosmetic and healthcare companies to the region.

“The expansion includes a complete new fit out of two of the laboratories, as well as alterations and improvements to a further three laboratories,” said a spokeswoman.

She said the company created artificial human-like skin that could be used to test skincare and healthcare products in a real-world environment.

“The expansion will enable Labskin to meet current demand in the market by allowing them to increase the amount of sample testing that can be done on site,” she said.

“The new research and training lab is also set to see Labskin collaborating with local universities, including the University of Bradford, where the two will work together to improve Labskin’s artificial skin model.

“Labskin will also be able to offer new services. The new space will give them the facility to teach in-house researchers from multi-national skincare companies how to use its products with best practice in mind.

“The company will be creating more opportunities for high-value jobs in the region and is currently recruiting a new laboratory technician to support the team of eight based at York, with a further three research and technical positions likely in the next 12-18 months.”

She said Labskin had been based at the campus since 2014 and had grown exponentially.

Alex Chapman, head of operations at Labskin, said it was an ‘extremely exciting time’ for the company.

“We’ve got the perfect base, and now space, here at NAFIC to collaborate with universities in the area to utilise and combine knowledge to make world-first scientific developments,” said Alex.

“Demand has been steadily increasing, so it was essential that we invested in our facilities to extend our capacity to improve our service to clients and increase efficiency of testing.”

Liz Cashon, innovation campus manager at NAFIC, added: “Labskin’s expansion shines a spotlight on the strength of Yorkshire’s bioscience sector.

“It is cutting edge research from companies such as Labskin that is attracting national and international interest and their expansion and investment into innovation and training facilities will continue to drive interest in the area, as well as create, and maintain, fantastic jobs in the region.

“We have supported Labskin over the last few years, giving the team the flexibility they needed to help the business grow.”