The Teoxane marriage
The first major entré into aesthetics for ALPHAEON was an agreement forged with Teoxane Laboratoires (teoxane.com) of Geneva, Switzerland, in August of 2013. As part of the relationship, ALPHAEON will market the full line of Teosyal® hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers and cosmeceutical products to credentialed physician specialists. Physicians and industry experts alike have long pondered on when Teosyal fillers would finally hit US shores.
As Teoxane Founder and Chairwoman Valerie Taupin explained, ‘We had offers from very big companies to be licensed in the United States, but I was not so much interested to work with a very big company. I like to work with companies that are like mine, where there is a founder. To speak from a founder to a founder of a company is important because we speak the same language. I saw a lot of business models presented to me, but they all copied the way other big companies are doing it. I had even considered opening my own subsidiary in the US until I met ALPHAEON.’
‘The ALPHAEON model was new and a lot of US key opinion leaders were also shareholders of the company. It was the first time I had seen such an innovative business model. I decided to work with them, and I am very happy after more than 1 year already,’ she continued.
Mme Taupin has a proven track record of two decades in Europe to live up to. Ten years ago she founded Teoxane after developing a reputation as one of the few female players in the dermal filler category. She was a co-founder and CEO of Lea DERM Laboratories, a subsidiary of Corneal Group in Paris, that had the rights to Juvéderm at a time when the market was much smaller and without the competition there is now.
‘I decided to open my own company because I wanted to have control over research and development and the manufacturing process. If you don’t make the product yourself, you are always at the mercy of the manufacturer to get things done,’ said Taupin.
Fast forward to 2014 and Teoxane now has over 16 products, including the classic range and a full range with lidocaine, and PureSense Redensity I and II for skin rejuvenation that are non-cross-linked and semi-cross-linked, respectively, with a skin-loving cocktail of antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins. The products are currently marketed in 80 countries and 4.8 million syringes have been injected worldwide. ‘When Teosyal will be available in the USA, we still do not know,’ she said.
It cannot go unnoticed that Taupin has exquisite taste. Her eye for detail and strikingly beautiful packaging is unmistakable, and has contributed to building a brand with the distinctive look and feel of a couture fragrance label. Taupin originally launched her skincare range in 2009 with three products, and they have been developing additional products ever since.
‘Our filler range is composed of 21 products and ALPHAEON will launch the skincare range in the US under the brand name Teoxane RHA™ (Resilient Hyaluronic Acid). We put the technology of our fillers in our skincare formulas: our patented RHA™ Technology plus a complex of restructuring ingredients providing powerful antioxidant protection and revitalising action. We offer a targeted response to visible signs of skin ageing,’ said Taupin.
There is no doubt that Teosyal has its share of loyal devotees. In fact, some American physicians are known to have been importing the products under the radar into their clinics for years. Munich dermatologist Elisabeth Schuhmachers has been working with Teosyal products since 2005. ‘I have the whole range in my practice. My favourite fillers are Global Action for medium–deep nasolabial folds, earlobes, and for finishing up a deep filling, and Ultra Deep for restoring volume in the cheeks, chin, and temple area is a very good, long-lasting product that lasts up to 18 months, sometimes even longer. I also like Deep Lines for treating deep nasolabial folds and marionette lines.’
Taupin is especially proud of her newest Teosyal innovation, Redensity II, which was developed for the tear trough and periorbital area. ‘We have had huge success with this product because this is the first product specially designed for this area on the market; it is a very difficult place to inject,’ she said. ‘When you are also a woman, you have a greater ability to put yourself in the patient’s place, looking with a different eye and point of view.’
Schuhmachers agreed. ‘Redensity II is very soft, doesn’t bind too much water so there are no puffy eyes, doesn’t cause a Tyndall effect, and contains a dermo-reconstructuring complex. Redensity I is a non-cross-linked HA with dermo-reconstructuring complex to enhance the natural glow of the skin. It causes a lifting effect because it is redensifying the skin. It can be used as a finish after any filler treatment or alone for face, neck, and décolleté, but I use it also for the arms, belly, and knees,’ she said.
Fillers with a high safety profile are a big plus in Europe, where new products are launched at every congress with minimal clinical data and physician trial. As Schuhmachers added, ‘The Teoxane fillers are produced in Geneva, Switzerland, and all production steps happen under one roof. The law for medical products in Switzerland is very strict, which guarantees high quality, safety, and standards. For me, the Teosyal fillers are the best on the market and are always my first choice.’
Along with the Teosyal suite of dermal fillers and Teoxane Cosmeceuticals, there is a growing list of other products in Alphaeon’s tool chest as it forges its way head on into the ‘self-pay’ or ‘elective’ sector of medicine. But they do not have US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for the fillers yet, and their Korean toxin is still quite a long way off. The lengthy FDA drug review process begins with the pre-clinical phase that can take 3 or more years1. If a drug gets the green light, it will then enter three phases of clinical trials.
In addition to products for clinical use, ALPHAEON also aims to deliver products and services to help practitioners run their practices more effectively. One of their main focuses lies in technology platforms and patient education vehicles. For example, in October 2013 they acquired TouchMD, an interactive software platform that helps physicians educate patients before, during, and after the consultation to help increase conversion rates. As Lupo said, ‘I am excited about the interactive capabilities of TouchMD technology that will be very valuable in day-to-day practice. The HD platform for ophthalmology is also very promising.’