1.4.1 Case study 1: Nano-technology

Course subject(s) Module 1. RRI roadmap and KPIs for companies

In this first case study we will have a look at Archa, a company that develops nano-medicine.

About the company

Laboratori Archa S.r.L (Archa), Italy is a small-to-medium size enterprise (SME), with the mission to provide assistance, technological innovation and know-how to companies to enable them to produce while respecting human health and the environment, preventing risk and complying with moral and ethical principles.

The NanoCube project,co- coordinated by Archa  develops innovative technologies aimed at producing nanocapsules and nanosystems providing controlled release of bioactive agents for cosmetic and biomedical applications. Partners include research organizations, cosmetic producers, hospitals, a company developing the production equipment and a private research centre.

The specific products of NanoCube include:

    • A dermocosmetic (detergency) product, providing innovative and more effective ways of using a natural active substance for antimicrobial action. The system has manifold advantages: reduce the risks for workers and users in handling and using the active substance, reduce the use of active substances compared to conventional treatments, improve the efficiency of the final product.
    • A bioactive 3D nanostructured patch for chronic lesions care, using a complex nanostructure surface to improve adherence with skin and nano-capsules for the controlled releases of active substances. The product is expected to improve efficacy of the healing and tissue regeneration processes in case of chronic derma lesions and in the long term to reduce costs correlated to lesion care. The expected time to market is in the medium term.

The Pilot / Challenge

The key challenge for this pilot was:  how to address ethical and social issues are addressed along the R&D pathway? This  includes: precautionary approach in the risk management of nanomaterials, research ethics (research activities on humans, replacing and reducing animal testing), addressing specific ethical values in product development (in line with demanding ethical certifications for natural and organic cosmetics), address issues of risk perception, and user acceptability in relation with nanotechnologies.

Another challenge is: how could acceptability of the final product be ensured considering public risk perception of nanotechnologies (in particular cosmetics)? How are the concerns of distributors and certification bodies in using new technologies linked to uncertainties in terms of risks, public concern and regulatory development? How can the scepticism of users/customers of green and natural cosmetics regarding the use of new technologies could be addressed?


These questions will be reviewed in the next 2 interviews with Antonio Cecchi, president and founder of Archa Laboratories.


For all results of the pilot go to: https://www.rri-prisma.eu/pilot-results/laboratori-archi/.

Interview Archa, part 1

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Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/responsible-innovation-building-tomorrows-responsible-firms/.
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