Nestle SA Makes Push Into Skin Care With 10 R&D Centers Worldwide; Has Budget Of $350 Million

Nestle SA Makes Push Into Skin Care With 10 R&D Centers Worldwide; Has Budget Of $350 Million
December 11, 2014
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

Swiss corporate conglomerate Nestle SA said Thursday that it is doubling down in its skin care division, saying it has plans to open 10 skin care research centers and will inject around $350 million into dermatological research.

"What we aspire to do is create an environment that is multi-disciplinary," Humberto Antunes, chief executive of Nestle Skin Care, told Reuters. "We're going to put (known technologies) together so that we can discover new approaches to caring for the health of people."

The company said the first hub will open in New York in 2015 and will be named Nestle Skin Health Investigation, Education and Longevity Development (SHIELD). Additional hubs will be built in Hong Kong and Sao Paolo, with additional sites to be named in Asia, Europe and North America.

Nestle declined to put a price tag on the SHIELD centers but analysts have estimated the cost to be in the millions.

Although most consumers associate the company with its sweets, Nestle has made a major push into the highly competitive—and hugely lucrative—skin care market in recent years. Most recently it shelled out $5.7 billion to Valeant Pharmaceuticals and for L'Oreal for injectable wrinkle treatments and has made it known it is looking for snap-on acquisitions that complement its skin care pipeline.

The company has said in quarterly reports that it eventually expects 40 percent of its dermatology line to come from prescription drugs. The rest will come from purely cosmetic treatments, like fillers, creams or even surgically administered therapies.

"The advantage of having a large company (Nestle) investing in this space is that they can dedicate funding into R&D and targeted therapies," said Joshua Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, told Reuters.

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