Nestle establishes "food-pharma" unit

Switzerland-based Nestlé has established a new company and research institute to lead a drive to "pioneer a new industry between food and pharma."

Nestlé said the new entities, Nestlé Health Science and the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences, would enable the company to focus on developing concepts in "personalized nutrition" to address health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Nestlé Health Science, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé, will become operational on Jan. 1, 2011. The new company will be run at arm's length from Nestlé's main food, beverages and nutrition activities and will incorporate the existing global Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition business.

The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences will be part of Nestlé's global R&D network. Based at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, it will conduct research in relevant areas of biomedical science — including genetics, metabolism and the environment — in a bid to turn its findings into products that improve health and longevity.

Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe said: "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. Personalized health science nutrition is about finding efficient and cost effective ways to prevent and treat acute and chronic diseases in the 21st century."

Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke added: "The creation of Nestlé Health Science 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. The new set-up will give us a pioneering and leading role in this entirely new industry."