By  on January 24, 2008

In the first deal of its kind for the Est??e Lauder Cos. Inc., the firm's Clinique brand has inked an agreement with Allergan that will result in a specialized line of Clinique-branded products to be sold only in doctors' offices.

An official announcement is expected today.

Under the terms of the deal, the two will produce skin care products to complement in-office aesthetic procedures, such as laser peels and microdermabrasion. Clinique will formulate, develop and manufacture the line, and Allergan will handle consumer and professional marketing and distribution and record sales to physicians. The line will be sold by Allergan's sales force, which is expected to add staff as a result of this agreement.

The first products are expected for fall 2008, and current plans are to launch six products in the initial collection.

Allergan, the Irvine, Calif.-based global specialty pharmaceutical giant, which also manufactures Botox and dermal filler Juvederm, clearly sees the prestige beauty market as a major growth opportunity. The Clinique deal marks the second time in the last few years that the company has reached out to a leading department store beauty brand.

In 2005, the pharmaceutical firm signed a partnership deal with Elizabeth Arden which has resulted in Arden selling a department store version of Prevage, Allergan's high-end idebenone antiaging product. Allergan still sells a physician-strength version to dermatologists for exclusive use in that market. As well, Allergan manufactures M.D. Fort??, a glycolic acid-based skin care regimen, and Vivit??, a luxury antiaging line, both sold only in physicians' offices.

According to Allergan, nonsurgical aesthetic procedures have increased nearly 750 percent over the last decade, with consumers in the U.S. spending more than $12 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2006.

For Lauder, the partnership takes one of its core brands into a market that builds on its heritage. Clinique, which was created in 1968, has always positioned itself as a skin care authority, aiming to offer allergy-tested, fragrance-free products vetted by dermatologists; the brand also established the Clinique Skin Wellness Center — intended to advance clinical and research programs at Manhattan's Weill Cornell Medical Center — in 2006.

According to industry sources, Clinique's annual retail sales topped $1.2 billion in the U.S. last year.

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