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Nestlé announces half-billion-dollar research institute

Swiss food giant Nestlé said on Monday that it would invest 500 million Swiss francs (US$507 million) over ten years in an Institute of Health Sciences currently being built at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, where the company (based in Vevey) already endows research chairs.

About 200 scientists are to be hired in the coming months for the institute, says Patrick Aebischer, the EPFL’s head. The institute will focus on obesity, diabetes, neurological disorders and aging, and will be headed by Emmanuel Baetge, formerly chief scientific officer of US biotech company ViaCyte.

The investment is part of a wider strategy to expand Nestlé’s business in medical nutrition — foods that help to treat diseases. Its new subsidiary Nestle Health Science (incorporating its existing healthcare nutrition business) would “pioneer a new industry between food and pharma”, the company stated. (AFP).

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    David Colquhoun said:

    Will Nestlé have any rights or control over findings?

    “Medical nutrition” or nutriceuticals are a major way to pass off untested and ineffective treatments onto gullible consumers. If you call something a food or a supplement, rather than a drug, you escape most of the tedious regulation that requires drugs to be shown to be effective as well as safe.

    No wonder unscrupulous companies go so enthusiastically for nutriceuticals.

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