Nestlé focuses on science of health

VEVEY, Switzerland — With the new year approaching, Nestlé Health Science S.A. and the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences — both created to pioneer a new industry between food and pharma — became operational.

“The creation of Nestlé Health Science S.A. and the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences is the best way to focus our attention and organize our unique capabilities and competencies to seize this promising business opportunity,” stated Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke at the time Nestlé announced the formation of the two new companies. “The new setup will give us a pioneering and leading role in this entirely new industry, while at the same time allowing us to keep the necessary focus on Nestlé’s extremely important food, beverages and nutrition business, as embodied by our binding promise of ‘Good Food, Good Life.’”

“The combination of health economics, changing demographics and advances in health science show that our existing healthcare systems, which focus on treating sick people, are not sustainable and need redesigning,” added Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman of Nestlé Health Science S.A. “Nestlé has the expertise, the science, the resources and the organization to play a major role in seeking alternative solutions. Personalized health science nutrition is about finding efficient and cost-effective ways to prevent and treat acute and chronic diseases in the 21st century,” he said.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Nestlé is investing $509 million over 10 years in the institute, which will carry out deeper scientific research into such areas as genetics and DNA.

With these two organizations, Nestlé will be exploring personalized health science nutrition to prevent and treat such health conditions as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nestlé Health Science S.A. will incorporate the existing global Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition business, which had a turnover of $1.6 billion in 2009. Nestlé Health Science S.A. also will have access to external scientific and technological know-how through Nestlé’s innovation network, as well as a number of venture capital funds in which the group has interests.

Luis Cantarell, the company’s designated president and CEO, will report to Bulcke, Nestlé CEO, in his capacity as managing director of the board of Nestlé Health Science S.A., which is chaired by Brabeck-Letmathe.

The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences will be part of Nestlé’s global research and development network. The Institute will be run by Emmanuel Baetge, former chief scientific officer of ViaCyte, a biotech company based in San Diego, who will report to Nestlé chief technology officer Werner Bauer and a steering committee composed of both Nestlé and external members.