SHISEIDO NEW PRODUCT PIPELINE COULD BE HARVARD RESEARCH CENTER
SHISEIDO NEW PRODUCT PIPELINE COULD BE HARVARD RESEARCH CENTER for skin biology. The Japanese cosmetics company and Harvard Medical School's teaching hospital -- Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) -- announced in Aug. 3 statements that Shiseido's agreement with the hospital's new Cutaneous Biology Research Center grants the firm an exclusive license to develop any products which arise from the research conducted at the center; MGH will own the patents to any inventions. Shiseido is providing $ 85 mil. to MGH over a 10-year period, beginning Oct. 1, to fund the establishment and support of the research center. The center's primary goal is "to understand skin at the fundamental level. Later the mission will broaden to include finding improved ways to diagnose and treat skin disorders," MGH said. However, the center will not perform clinical testing or development of commercial products. Areas of interest for research include pigment cell biology, skin's physical properties, photobiology, physiology and the pharmacology of skin. Under the agreement, MGH was careful to note that the center will retain its research independence. MGH has the freedom to "decide what research to undertake, to determine the timing of research articles, and to choose the journal in which to publish results. Scientists will retain the right to collaborate freely with other colleagues," the hospital pointed out. Shiseido and Harvard Medical School have "advisory input" into the center, but the "final sole arbiter" is the director, the hospital said. The center's staff will total 40 researchers and support staff in its initial year, and is expected to grow to 100 by its fourth year of operation. Harvard Medical School Dermatology Department Chairman and MGH Chief of Dermatology Services John Parrish, MD, PhD, has been named the center's director. An eight-member Scientific Board, including scientists from MGH and Shiseido, will oversee the center's operations along with a management board with four members each from MGH and the Japanese firm. Tatsuya Ozawa, PhD, director and general manager of Shiseido's product research labs, has been named an associate director of the center. Shiseido will have up to five researchers on the center's research team at one time. The startup of a U.S. scientific center for the research of skin reinforces Shiseido's commitment to positioning skin care products as scientifically efficacious as well as its intention to build its U.S. market. Shiseido skin care products include Bio-Performance Super Revitalizer, UV Facial Protection Complex and UV Facial Recovery Complex. The firm launched a line of "skincare-oriented" makeup called "Color That Cares" in February. Shiseido introduced six non-prescription drug products in Japan in 1987, including an OTC dry skin cream and topical acne products, but says it currently has no intention of entering the U.S. OTC drug market. The firm also has stated that it plans to eventually enter the prescription drugs category. Hoechst AG of West Germany and MGH entered into a similar agreement in 1982, under which Hoechst gave the hospital $ 68 mil. over 10 years for the establishment and management of a Department of Molecular Biology. Since then, according to MGH, "industrial firms from all over the world have infused money into American academic research." Most of MGH's industrial supporters are American companies.
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