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Spas Get Serious: Wellness

By: Sara Mason
Posted: June 9, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Physicians also are looking for new revenue streams—ways to bring more money into their practices—particularly in primary care, because they are being hit hard by insurance providers. For brands looking to fill a niche market in a physician’s office or medical spa, ethical and manufacturing standards are a must. “It takes a high level of trust for a doctor to advocate something to their patients, no matter the setting,” says Goldman. “Take the responsibility seriously, because, while revenue is important, they are not in it to make a quick buck.”

JSJ Pharmaceuticals is a growing specialty pharmaceutical company based on the development and commercialization of prescriptive products to meet the diverse needs of patients suffering from a wide range of dermatological conditions. In February 2008, the company introduced its new esthetic division, Vitivia. “With the continued growth of medically based aesthetics, Vitivia will be an important growth factor for the future of JSJ Pharmaceuticals,” says JSJ’s COO, Jonathan Alba. The first of Vitivia’s science-based, results-oriented products, available through physicians’ offices in the U.S., is Pro: Vitamin. Topical vitamins have long been recognized as important tools in the antiaging process, but stability has been an issue with long lists of preservative agents being the only solution. Pro: Vitamin’s individual biodegradable unit doses have not been exposed to light or air to keep the concentration pure and stable.

Revance Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company that is pioneering transdermal delivery of biologically active macromolecules and is best known for its flagship product, currently in clinical development—a gel-based, needle-free, topically delivered botulinum neurotoxin type A. The company’s Relastin line also mimics the impact of physician office treatments such as lasers and injectables. Skin Revitalizer and Eye Silk feature a zinc firming complex that stimulates the production of new, functional elastin fibers. Originally founded by two cardiovascular physicians, Relastin is available through physicians and medical spas as well as high-end online retailers. Shortly after Eye Silk launched, it received high-profile endorsements from dermatologists and beauty publications, such as Allure magazine, which gave it the “Best in Beauty” award for the best anti-wrinkle eye cream in 2007.

Spa Market Opportunities

Most spas carry a natural- or marine-based line as well as one that’s more results-oriented, whether it’s cosmeceuticals or a line to address problematic skin. In addition, they often will have a specialty line, a branded ayurvedic or an aromatherapy line. The industry also is really looking for products that dovetail with intergenerational wellness treatments—specifically light therapy, massage and acupuncture. The spa is definitely an attractive place to feature products, but brands will find the spa market challenging because it is so saturated. “You have to be very creative,” says the Medical Spa Association’s Leavy. “The key is to define who you are.”